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  • AI Interrogator: The Race to Regulation with Professor Lilian Edwards

    November 27, 2023


  • EU’s approach to AI regulation is the most well worked out, most comprehensive legal, as opposed to ethical, approach to regulating AI. At the same time, China has got three pieces of legislation out already, which regulate generative AI, synthetic AI, and recommender systems. But explicitly, they're only trying to regulate systems that operate in China, whereas the European approach is much more extraterritorial. Australia is also thinking about a new AI law. So, there's going to be a lot of new rules coming out about AI governance and how are they going to compete with each other.
  • There are two main dangers associated with AI regulation. First, AI is constantly changing and a carefully prepared regulation can fall apart because there's some big technical change. Second, it’s hard to be ahead of the game in terms of regulation. And choosing the right approach will be challenging. Some countries will go with hard mandatory regulation, which is bad for innovation and bad for progress, but good for society and good for human values. Others will opt for a much softer, more ethical, more self-regulatory approach in which we still might look like we're thinking about the future and getting ahead on AI, and yet we're not really doing anything very much.

About Professor Lilian Edwards

Prof. Lilian Edwards

Professor Lilian Edwards is a leading academic in the field of Internet law. She has taught information technology law, e-commerce law, privacy law and Internet law at the undergraduate and postgraduate level since 1996 and been involved with law and AI since 1985.

She worked at the University of Strathclyde 1986 - 1988 and the University of Edinburgh 1989 - 2006. She was Chair of Internet Law at the University of Southampton 2006 - 2008, and then Professor of Internet Law at the University of Sheffield until late 2010, when she returned to Scotland to become Professor of E-Governance at the University of Strathclyde, while retaining close links with the renamed SCRIPT (AHRC Centre) at the University of Edinburgh. She resigned from that role in 2018 to take up a new Chair in Law, Innovation and Society at Newcastle University. She also has close links with the Oxford Internet Institute.

She is the editor and major author of Law, Policy and the Internet, one of the leading textbooks in the field of Internet law (Hart, 2018). She won the Future of Privacy Forum award in 2019 for best paper ("Slave to the Algorithm" with Michael Veale) and the award for best non-technical paper at FAccT in 2020, on automated hiring. In 2004 she won the Barbara Wellberry Memorial Prize in 2004 for work on online privacy where she invented the notion of data trusts, a concept which ten years later has been proposed in EU legislation. She is a partner in the Horizon Digital Economy Hub at Nottingham, the lead for the Alan Turing Institute on Law and AI, and a fellow of the Institute for the Future of Work. At Newcastle, she is the theme lead in the data NUCore for the Regulation of Data. She currently holds grants from the AHRC and the Leverhulme Trust. Edwards has consulted for inter alia the EU Commission, the OECD, and WIPO.

Edwards co-chairs GikII, an annual series of international workshops on the intersections between law, technology and popular culture.

    Connect with Professor Lilian Edwards

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