The European Union (EU) is a torch-bearer in technology governance, particularly in the areas of privacy, data protection, market surveillance, and antitrust. For example, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), introduced in 2018, has set standards for the collection, use, and storage of personal data, and—through its extraterritorial impact—has shaped data protection practices around the world.

Anticipating that the EU would be a first mover in regulating AI, since 2018, The Future Society has been facilitating the development of the EU AI governance regime. Accordingly, we organized our Global Civic Debate on the Rise of AI in the European Parliament in 2018 and have maintained close contact with policymakers and their advisors ever since.

In April 2021, the European Commission published a proposed law for regulating AI systems on its market, the “Artificial Intelligence Act.” Due to its more horizontal scope, its granularity, and its expected extraterritorial “Brussels effect,” the AI Act is widely expected to be one of the most influential pieces of legislation on AI worldwide.

Since 2021, our work in this thematic area has aimed to ensure that the proposed EU AI Act and the surrounding regulatory regime, at large, instill precaution with regard to AI systems with increasingly broad capabilities. We also aim to cultivate dialogues that both reduce the intensity of race dynamics observed in the AI industry and enhance global coordination.

Currently, we are conducting applied research and providing advice to decision-makers to ensure that the AI Act credibly and cost-effectively incentivizes upskilling of developers in trustworthiness, risk and quality management, safety, security, precaution, and overall alignment with fundamental rights. In particular, since 2022, we have conducted research on general-purpose AI systems (GPAIS), informed EU regulators of the risks and opportunities they present, and advocated for investments into research and benchmarking, to better understand, and thereby govern, advanced AI systems.


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