RAID 2024 unites legislators and regulators on global tech opportunities and challenges

Senior figures from Europe, Asia, the Americas and Africa came together at RAID Virtual 2024 on 30 April to discuss how to “Innovate, Regulate and Implement with Courage and Caution”, with several speakers highlighting the growing importance of RAID as the global forum for regulators and policymakers.

“One of the reasons why today’s event is so special is the high quality of the speakers,” said Věra Jourová, the European Commission’s Vice President for Values and Transparency in her opening welcome.

She highlighted the opportunities and regulatory challenges of the “simply staggering” pace of AI development. She also warned that the convergence of AI and disinformation creates a “perfect storm of challenges”.

“Our journey to decide on how to embed AI into democratic society has only started,” she said. Conferences like the one today are helping us all to address difficult challenges of the future.”

Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO stressed that AI innovation must benefit everyone.

“We find ourselves at the crossroads, at the moment where we must ensure that the boundless potential of artificial intelligence is developed and shaped in a direction that benefits us all.”

On the opening panel, Innovation and Regulation – Getting the Balance Right, Kilian Gross, Head of Unit A2 (Artificial Intelligence Policy Development and Coordination, DG CNECT) at the European Commission said “every regulation entails the risk of preventing innovation”. He said that the EU’s comprehensive regulation of AI should boost innovation as it will encourage trust.

Ahmet Yozgatlıgil, Deputy Minister of Industry and Technology set out the strategic priorities of Turkey’s National Artificial Intelligence, while Aakash Guglani of the Digital India Foundation talked about India’s pro-innovation and welfare-based “middle path”, that is guided by technology and follows a softer regulatory approach.

The panel, moderated by Mira Burri, Professor of International Economic and Internet Law, University of Lucerne, also featured Irakli Khodeli, Head of Ethics of AI, UNESCO, who said “Ethics is the best tool to find that balance between innovation and managing risk.”


“Annual conference of regulators

On Panel 2: Internet Regulation: Order in the New Frontier (moderated by KPMG’s Rahul Singhal), Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Former Prime Minister, France and Chairman, Fondation Prospective et Innovation said, “We have the opportunity to give a new dynamic to multilateralism with AI. We need to have this annual conference of regulators”.

South African Data Protection Commissioner Collen Weapond also called for all global regulators to make RAID their annual meeting, and stressed the urgency to implement the approaches discussed at RAID.

“Coordination and alignment are important” said Camilla Bustani, Director, International, Ofcom, adding that the journey is just beginning. “The DSA and the UK’s OSA are not the final word in online regulation – in fact they are the first words.”

“It’s mission critical that different approaches to data protection harmonise”, said Kathy Harman-Stokes, Acting Director, Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties, US Department of Justice on Panel 3: Rethinking Data Protection, moderated by Natascha Gerlach, Director of Privacy Policy, Centre for Information Policy Leadership (CIPL).

Cecilia Alvarez, Director of Privacy Policy Engagement, EMEA, Meta talked about the need for regulations to evolve along with economies and societies. She stressed the need for a single market for data in Europe that serves humankind. “GDPR has a long life” she said – as long as it is true to its principles and able to evolve.

“The UK is rethinking data protection,” said Isabel Simpson, Partner, Head of Data Privacy at KPMG Law. The UK Data Protection and Digital Information Bill has been developed in a consultative process between government and industry to encourage innovation whilst prioritising safety, and crucially aims to simplify and increase clarity in the law.

Tine A. Larsen, President, CNPD – Commission nationale pour la protection des données (National Commission for Data Protection – Luxembourg) highlighted the importance of more cooperation between DPAs as well as competition, financial conduct and online safety regulators. “GDPR is about protecting rights but also helping the economy – we have to make data flow”, she said.


Panel 4: AI Governance: Risks and Opportunities, moderated by Nicolas de Bouville, Privacy Policy Manager, Meta, stressed the need for harmonised approaches to regulation and implementation. What will “make or break” the implementation of the AI Act is how well the authorities understand it, and “coherence across the land,” said Dragoş Tudorache MEP. “We won’t achieve a single market if we have 37 different interpretations of the law. The worst that could happen is that we have fragmented regulation.”

Dr. Anna Christmann, Member of the Bundestag, BMWK representative for the digital economy and start-ups, Germany highlighted the societal benefit that AI can bring as well as the risks to values and democracy in Europe. “The AI Act can be a global example,” she said. She also echoed the need for a forum like RAID “to bring relevant players together on an annual basis”.

Yordanka Ivanova, AI Policy Development and Coordination Unit, DG CNECT, European Commission said “Our approach has been targeted, to avoid overregulation. Compliance will provide a competitive advantage to companies that are providing trustworthy AI solutions.”

Laurent Gobbi, KPMG France (Global Trusted AI & Tech Risk Leader) said “A lot of companies are still looking for the best use cases. We’re still in a gold rush. The tech stack is evolving very fast. [The AI act] is good for innovation.”


“Working together”

In a fireside chat, Elizabeth Kelly, Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)’s U.S. Artificial Intelligence Safety Institute said: “It’s essential that we have safety institutes and similar regulators across the globe aligned on what interoperable testing should look like, what standards should be – because only by working together can we really level the playing field and make sure that we’re advancing the science of AI safety.”

On Panel 5: Driving Digital Transformation Fairly and Responsibly, Werner Stengg, Member of Cabinet of EVP Margrethe Vestager – Europe fit for the Digital Age, and Commissioner for Competition highlighted the work being done in Europe to tackle misinformation online. “AI is a tool – it can be used for good and bad. AI on its own doesn’t create risk for democracies,” he said. “We are meeting with and writing to platforms to see what proactive measures they are taking to mitigate these risks.”

Alexandre Roure, Head of Policy and Deputy Head of Office, Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) Europe said, “If we want to speed up digital transformation in the EU, we can’t have policies that will make prices higher for customers here in Europe.”

“There are a lot of disjointed initiatives at the global level”, said Miriam Stankovich, Senior Principal Digital Policy Specialist, Center for Digital Acceleration. “We should upgrade the risk-based approach and take a human rights approach.”

“Services need to protect children’s privacy, but they also need to give children a fulsome and rich experience online that allows them to explore, learn and just be children much like they are allowed to be children in the offline world,” said Jennifer Dolan, Assistant Commissioner, Data Protection Commission Ireland on Panel 6: Children First – How to Balance Privacy and Safety.

Fred Langford, Director of Trust and Safety Technology, Ofcom (UK communications regulator) talked about the regulators’ role in challenging platforms and testing solutions, but also parental control and responsibilities. “Everybody has the responsibility, including the children who use the tools”, he said.

“The one voice that is missing from most of these conversations are children themselves,” said Prof. Andy Phippen, Professor of IT Ethics and Digital Rights, Bournemouth University

It is “deeply concerning” that some platforms prioritise profit over children’s safety and the development of children, said Anja Wyrobek, Legal Policy Advisor at the European Parliament.


“Collaborating cross-border and cross-sector”

On Panel 7: Financial Services: Blueprints for Global Regulation and Adoption, Alain Otaegui, Policy Expert, European Banking Authority (EBA) said: “There is big hype around the use of AI in banking sector. It’s not new. The banking sector is benefitting from exponentially larger sets of data and analytics capabilities, and the efficiency of algorithms. It’s the application of those techniques in decision making processes that is new.”

“AI can be a useful tool for a central bank,” said Michele Lanotte, Retail Payment Instrument and Services Directorate, Banca d’Italia. “We are studying with banks to understand the opportunities and the risks, because the devil is in the detail.”

“Hallucination is acceptable when you’re deciding what to have for dinner but not when you’re deciding what to do with your life savings,” said Emoke Peter, Head of European Public and Regulatory Affairs, Worldline.

“We need to know whether data is good or not,” said Karmela Holtgreve, Director General Strategy and Innovation, Deutsche Bundesbank “It needs to be done to get results out of LLM or whatever AI you are using. How explainable and transparent is the use of data – how can we make sure the human is in the loop to adapt the model? This is not always there yet, and it can create risk such as bias. This needs to be looked at very carefully or we won’t get the results we want.”

The panel also focused on the challenges and opportunities of digital currencies, the interoperability of vertical and horizontal legislation, and the need for international coordination to ensure financial stability. “We need to keep collaborating cross-border and cross-sector,” said Otaegui.

In his closing remarks, RAID Director Ben Avison highlighted plans for RAID Brussels, the global conference of regulators and policymakers taking place in Stanhope Hotel on 23-24 September, including additional streams for industry verticals such as healthcare, financial services and industrial automation.

Register for RAID Brussels