“Current and Future Challenges of Coordinated Policies on AI Regulation” co-organized by the Hungarian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and the Council of Europe



Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become part of everyday life not only at the individual level but as well in business terms and governmental affairs. Transforming our society and our perception of it, AI has served great benefits, but as well-presented risks and challenges directly impacting the enjoyment of human rights, functioning of democracy, and the observance of the rule of law. In this context, developing a comprehensive framework to regulate the design, development, and use of AI systems is of essential importance in tackling the issue and keeping a balance between opportunities and risks as enhanced by Mr. Rik Daems in his keynote opening speech. In this regard, the Hungarian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe co-organized with the Council of Europe the conference on “Current and Future Challenges of Coordinated Policies on AI Regulation”, held online on October 26th, 2021.

Participating multi-stakeholders offered a thorough dialogue on addressing the issues concerning the disbalance between advantages and disadvantages of AI application and enhanced the necessity of proactive cooperation as a prerequisite in developing common policies and legal regulatory frameworks, so that AI can be a positive force while managing the risks, to what Mr. Péter Sztáray phrased as an opportunity to set the standards of tomorrow.

Discussions covered by stakeholders in this inclusive dialogue addressed important issues from recognizing the impact of AI, to highlight the need for a coordinated approach in comprising a legal framework whilst exploring best practices, long-term effects, and sustainable development of Artificial Intelligence.

In the discussion following the international architecture of AI governance, acknowledging the need for regulatory frameworks and international/national policies to make sure that the usage of AI benefits humanity as a whole, UNESCO presented its transformative and innovative framework- Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence. It ensures that technology enhances the quality of life, provides measures to control the downsides, and proposes solutions for current problems. The recommendation concludes that it is of vital importance to incorporate values and principles such as:

  • Ethical Impact Assessment – When AI application possesses risks, it should not be used.
  • Data governance –Ensuring individual rights over their privacy is of crucial importance, therefore consent given is enhanced for its relative importance.
  • Gender – It was keynoted during discussion the Gender aspect in terms of human rights, as only 22% of professionals in AI are women. In the scope of this regulation no kind of discrimination should be promoted.

Of keen interest, CAHAI (Ad Hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence) addresses issues from the perspective of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law; working closely with civil society, private actors and in coordination with international organizations, it has provided important input to the policymaking process.  As per remarks by Mr. Gregor Strojin, experience reveals that it is important to develop legal binding instruments on AI fast, yet to be prudent in what we bind ourselves into. Transparency, explanations on the details of usage, should be principles to construct legal responses to AI.

Exploring the ways of how to ensure that human rights, democracy, and the rule of law are the pillars of AI governing policies, EU Agency for Fundamental Rights presented by Mr. Michael O’Flaherty, stresses the importance of the following nine principles which are needed to be taken into consideration in the efforts to regulate the usage of AI:

  • There is law in place related the application of AI such as the Human Rights Treaties who have much to say on the current use and application of AI, and how its usage can restrain rights.
  • Given the vast importance of Artificial Intelligence, it is a subject for additional regulation, which should be done based on cooperation with the right stakeholders. Civil society needs to be closely involved in the development of instruments.
  • AI engages every aspect of human being, therefore all human rights. There is a risk that certain human rights issues might be preferred over others – for example privacy or gender discrimination – which would not be a wise approach.
  •  Regulations have to capture what is unknown and engage the future.
  • Put in place strong, independent, oversight mechanisms which will constantly monitor and engage with the actual application of AI. Equally important, these mechanisms should be given the resources needed.
  • Match the law with the awareness raising and training.

Worth noting in the discussion regarding the sustainable development of AI, stakeholders argued that in terms of social sustainability, its democratic dimension requires meaningful civil society participation in the developing of AI, enhancing social costs included in the development and promoting improvements in community wellbeing, which stakeholder in her remarks finds that currently is not happening. Argued as well in the discussion, is that in terms of sustainable development AI systems reflect the values of people designing it, therefore it can lead to discrimination. During the dialogue with the stakeholders, three types of sustainability were pointed out: Environmental, social and economic. Especially to the environmental dimension, stakeholder enhances that while AI can benefit climate change, also addresses some problems in the correlation between AI and sustainability.

Following the insights, arguments, and approaches discussed in this conference, the following remarks were addressed:

  • Artificial intelligence with its respective technologies has an impact in the enjoyment of human rights, functioning of democracy and observance of rule of law.
  •  National authorities and international organizations need to develop a proactive, multi-stakeholder approach and coordinate the governmental models in regards to AI with relevant international organizations.
  • Challenges and risks posed by AI systems to human rights, the functioning of democracy and the observance of the rule of law require a common and coordinated approach, which should be attained by implementing an international legal framework.
  • Such regulatory frameworks should be based on common values, principles and be constituted both binding and non-binding instruments to address challenges relating to the application of AI systems in specific sectors.
  • Such regulatory frameworks, should be implemented nationally and locally as well.
  • Values the CAHAI’s working method, such as the inclusive consultation and outreach approach, which has provided important input to the policymaking actors.
  • Designing, development and application of AI systems should be displayed by a human- approach as it safeguards the principles of human rights, democracy and rule of low.
  • Encourages all international organizations to strengthen and deepen their co-operation with the Council of Europe in their work on AI and to continue the multi-stakeholder dialogues.

For further details about the conference: https://www.coe.int/en/web/artificial-intelligence/-/-current-and-future-challenges-of-coordinated-policies-on-ai-regulation-international-conference