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Overview – legal framework and policy initiatives

Countries have proposed several artificial intelligence policy initiatives recently. Ching-Fu Lin explores them in this article.
This article offers a comprehensive look at global legal frameworks and policy initiatives regarding artificial intelligence (AI). We discuss the importance of understanding the regulatory hierarchy and the role of different legal instruments.

Currently Normative Instruments

  • Governments globally have adopted several normative instruments in response to AI’s challenges.
  • The US initiated AI governance early on with its National Science and Technology Council’s policy paper in 2016.
  • Japan has set significant policy guidelines, influencing international standards like the OECD AI Principles.
  • Other nations like China, Australia, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan have introduced recent policy initiatives and normative instruments.
  • The EU stands out for its move toward legally-binding AI instruments, setting potential global benchmarks with documents like the “Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI.”

Regulatory Hierarchy

The hierarchy of legal norms comprises: 1. Constitution: The foundational and supreme law. 2. Law: Specific rules passed by legislative bodies. 3. Regulations: Detailed guidelines by executive agencies that carry the force of law. 4. Guidelines, Standards, and Policy Initiatives: Non-binding but influential tools providing recommendations and guidance.

How the Initiatives Work and Matter

  • Soft regulations (like guidelines) set initial expectations and provide a platform for policy debates and adjustments.
  • Over time, as societal consensus solidifies, stronger regulations, like laws, may emerge.
  • The absence of universal AI standards stems from AI’s evolving nature and differing country-specific approaches.
  • Developed countries, housing major AI companies, are steering AI regulatory frameworks.
  • The aim of AI instruments varies across nations, but shared themes like transparency, accountability, and privacy are common, hinting at the potential for collaborative governance in the future.

© Ching-Fu Lin and NTHU, proofread by ChatGPT
This article is from the free online

AI Ethics, Law, and Policy

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