Lawmakers and technologists strive for equilibrium at RAID (Regulation of Artificial intelligence, Internet and Data)

 Lawmakers and technologists strive for equilibrium at RAID (Regulation of Artificial intelligence, Internet and Data)

At RAID (Regulation of Artificial intelligence, Internet and Data) Digital on 4th May 2022, legislators, regulators and technology industry experts resolved to “create balance in a precarious world”.

40 speakers joined from the European Commission, European Parliament, UNESCO, national governments including the US, Canada, Germany and India, regulators and central banks, Meta, Deloitte and investors.

The resounding message of the conference was public and private sector actors from all over the world must work together more closely to ensure that digital technology develops for the good of society.

Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Former Prime Minister, France and Chairman, Fondation Prospective et Innovation said: “The question of how to regulate the internet has become more pressing. The world is becoming nationalised or regionalised. We need competition but also cooperation. Regulation cannot be established in the national framework alone. International collaboration is the only appropriate framework, even if it is imperfect.”

Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, European Commission emphasised that data protection is a fundamental right and that an absence of protection hampers consumer trust in the digital economy and may negatively affect trade and investment. “When I think of the internet of the future, our goal in Europe is to include an equal level of fairness for consumers online and offline,” he said.

Dita Charanzová, Vice President of the European Parliament highlighted progress on the Digital Services act, the Digital Markets Act, the AI Act and the Data Act. But she stressed the importance of reaching agreements beyond Europe. “Every region is going to legislate. Do we want a digital future that is divided and segmented? Or can we try to bridge divides and come up with common regulations?”

Denis Beau, Deputy Governor, Banque de France said: “To meet the challenge of the digital transformation of the financial sector towards a new equilibrium balancing innovation and financial stability, we consider it vital to ensure that public and private initiatives complement each other and are properly coordinated both at national, European and international level.”

Wu Lebin, Chairman, Chinese Academy of Sciences Venture Capital highlighted the regulatory initiatives underway in China, including new requirements for companies to alter their AI algorithms, the adoption of the Personal Information Protection Law and the draft amendment to the Anti-Monopoly Law. “But as well as regulating technology, we must embrace these changing times and lead the change,” he said.

Wojciech Wiewiórowski, European Data Protection Supervisor said: “We are not protecting data; we are protecting people. Data is not a commodity, it is information about you.” Drawing parallels with international maritime law and the abolition of slavery, he said “We try to create a global market for the global flow of data, but not in the field where human beings are the product, where humans are the thing we sell.”

Arvind Gupta, President, Digital India Foundation said: “There is a difference in the model every country adopts. Democratic countries need to come together to make sure that technologies remain neutral and unbiased, not just serving the few that own the technology. The internet has been used since it started as a neutral protocol – but the applications on top of it are an advertising led model, which has led to a monetisation of our data. Combined with AI, this poses huge societal issues. There is a framework where the whole platform is a public good.”

Opening the panel AI in Action, Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO said: “More and more decisions are being taken with the analytical power of AI, but that’s why we should be thinking about regulation, and the way this conference is framing it is the right one. These issues are at the core of discussions in many countries, because this is really to ensure that the rule of law prevails online as we are trying to do it offline – and this needs international cooperation.”

Opening the panel on The Internet of the Future, Stefano Fratta, Privacy Policy Director, Meta said: “The metaverse is the next evolution in mobile technology and is the successor to the desktop internet. The main feature of the metaverse is a sense of presence – it will be like living the internet, not looking at the internet. The metaverse is going to be a collaborative exercise, not owned by any one company. We are at the very start of the journey – it’s not going to happen overnight. If we start now, we have the option to build the policy while we develop the technology.”

He also emphasised that equity and inclusion, as well as safety and integrity, are Meta’s priorities.

Jan-Jan Lowijs, Risk Advisory Director, Deloitte highlighted the economic opportunities of the metaverse. “We will see a shift to things that happen offline happening more online. You can go to a concert in the metaverse – that opens up a whole new economy for entertainment.”

Opening the panel on How to Ensure Trust in Digital Technology, Boštjan Koritnik, Minister of Public Administration, Government of Slovenia said: “With new technologies, trust is a must. Fears related to the use of digital technology are overcome when citizens become aware of the huge benefits and potential that digital services bring to their everyday life. In Slovenia we have excellent examples of services cocreated with our citizens.”

Joanna Conway, Partner & Internet Regulation (Legal), Deloitte said: “We are already seeing different internets in different countries. It may be possible to come up with broad principles, but you have to accept that what’s acceptable in one country might not be in the next, so you are always going to see a fragmented landscape.

“The EU’s approach is around creating trust through regulation. the UK is doing something similar; it’s arguably gone further with the Online Safety Bill, in the sense that it’s not just looking at illegal content but also looking at harmful content. But it’s not purely down to the regulators; it is the platforms and tech companies who are going to be held to their own standards – and empowering users will help repair trust overall.

Highlighting the importance of multilateral engagement, Allison Schwier, Science and Technology Adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State said “We don’t expect everyone to come up with the same solutions, but to make sure they protect and promote human rights.

“Humans are not neutral, we have biases and these can become part of the technologies we develop. As we think through AI it’s important to bring ethicists to the table.”

Cecilia Álvarez, Director of Privacy Policy Engagement at Meta said: “We are very pleased to see the European Commission support for sandboxes. It is a positive concept. We also need a more experimental government-based approach. A co-creation framework is a very good way of policy prototyping.”

Conference Director Ben Avison concluded: “Digitalisation has not only disrupted industries; it has changed what it means to be human. RAID is becoming the main focal point for everyone concerned with the regulation of technology. We thank you all for joining us on this journey, and we are very much looking forward to seeing you on October 13th for the next RAID conference.”

RAID Digital was organised by Cavendish Group International in partnership with the Fondation Prospective et Innovation, with Platinum Sponsors Deloitte and Meta, Silver Sponsors Allen & Overy and Supporting Partners: Center for AI and Digital Policy; Center for Digital Acceleration; CENTI; Danish National Research Foundation Centre for Privacy Studies; Digital India Foundation; Euronavigator; European Law Institute; Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology; Institute for Privacy Protection; Institute of AI; Internet Commission.