European Union, Principles of AI regulation

No time like the later.

photo of person holding alarm clock

Here’s a variance on most of the AI regulation clarion calls of panic. Pekka Ala-Pietila calls for hitting the snooze button on AI regulation as he leads the development of principles for regulations (go ahead, borrow mine).

There are a few things I find interesting about this. First, I do agree and have noted on this blog that the constant drumbeat of panic around regulating driverless cars and eliminating bias and other assorted hobgoblins arising from any use of AI is really all a bit too much. But I have also noted that there doesn’t really appear to be much regulation underway, rather a lot of reports and white papers and considerations by various ministries, agencies and other government entities. So, I’m not sure that really we are in much danger of regulation suddenly quashing AI innovations.

In addition, I don’t think that the suggestion that we should start with principles but wait for the courts to regulate is necessarily a plan and perhaps more of the absence of one. I spoke a few weeks ago about the regulation of Data Trusts and compared them as being on a contiuum between the unregulated open data ventures of governments and potentially what would regulate actual trading in data. I got asked where I thought regulation would actually start and my answer, much like that of Ala-Pietila, was that I thought it would start with the courts. But not, as he suggests, because it would be good to follow the lead of the courts. Rather because it was unlikely that government would get around to making any kind of decent approach at regulation which would leave the courts to handle some disaster or other in litigation, at which point the governments would respond with clean up regulation. Maybe ’twas always thus, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best approach.

In particular, if we are talking about commercial transactions, it is true that regulation can slow things down. But the law also provides commercial certainty. Lack of certainty in the law would be equally detrimental to fostering commercial activity, as are court rulings that force industry participants to change course midstream.

Photo by Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush on


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