Successful Governance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and related technologies inevitably requires transnational expertise and, where possible, transnational coordination. This is both because the impacts of AI advancement are not contained by national borders and because proper governance of these domains has the potential to greatly expand the shared benefits of these technologies. Policymakers, however, are not able to keep up with every challenge posed by these rapidly changing domains. It is therefore important to be able to engage directly with experts in the technologies and their social and political implications, as well as with other policymakers, so that lessons can be shared across borders and policymakers can ask questions in a safe(r) environment, away from the public spotlight.
Developments in the global governance of AI are still uncertain, and sparse across several initiatives ranging from the Global Partnership on AI, the G7 and G20, international standardization efforts and countless private sector and NGO-led initiatives. Both the US and the EU have announced policy initiatives in this domain over the past months: a new Memorandum of the US Office of Management and Budget containing Guidance for Regulation of Artificial Intelligence Applications was published on November 17, 2020; and the European Commission will present a proposed far-reaching AI regulation in the first quarter of 2021. In this context, the need for enhanced transatlantic cooperation was increasingly felt during the past months.
A Joint Communication of the European Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs adopted on 2 December 2020 invoked “a new transatlantic agenda for global change”, advocating the development of a common approach to critical technologies including Artificial Intelligence. The EUI School of Transnational Governance, the Brookings Institution and Stanford University’s Institute for Human-Centered Artificial intelligence (HAI) designed an Intensive Policy Lab that aimed to equip policymakers from the United States and Europe with the knowledge and tools they need to ensure that the benefits of AI are widely shared, and their risks mitigated. The Intensive Policy Lab brought together a restricted group of policymakers, giving them the possibility to engage with each other and with top-level experts on the challenges and opportunities of AI and related digital technologies.
Participants were given the chance to interact, co-create policy solutions and debate with colleagues, social scientists, data scientists, and tech futurists from the other side of the Atlantic all within a vibrant and dynamic virtual environment.