The AI ​​regulation may advance the Biden legacy

In the future of the interconnected economy and cybersecurity, it is imperative that the Biden administration make international cooperation in regulating artificial intelligence a key component of the United States re-entry into international cooperation and leadership. The Biden administration is expected to act cooperatively on international affairs and it is important that the administration investigate the areas where international model rules are needed to protect countries and individuals, and the technology required for the respective services is created.

If the United States does not start engaging with the international community while seriously looking at the regulation of artificial intelligence domestically, it will fall back in a very dangerous arms race that is rapidly emerging from its infancy. Without international coherence in the law, companies will run to countries that offer the greatest flexibility – even if this is contrary to business ethics. The United States has already lagged behind in that its intellectual property laws do not recognize the creativity of machine-based systems, forcing developers in these areas to make two undesirable options: leaving creative results unprotected or recognizing unrecognized property.[1] From a business ethical point of view, this undermines many of the principles that historically have enabled the creativity of developers in the US.

Strong process models are imperfect, but already developed to justify working with the international community. The United States has achieved desirable results in negotiating treaties with other nuclear-capable countries. This model has managed to keep humanity from destroying itself, but it cannot deal with countries that (currently) lack nuclear capabilities, but who still want a seat at the table. Despite sanctions against countries that want to develop the technology, the proliferation of nuclear technology theft and unauthorized research and development seem to suggest that one-on-one discussions with countries developing AI technology will not produce the desired long-term effect.

Rather than negotiating with individual countries, the United States should lead the way in developing comprehensive global regulations that protect countries from one another and protect people, other creatures and the environment from artificial intelligence. We have seen this kind of collaboration in space law in the past and seen strong leadership by the United States in the development of ICANN.

The international community realized almost immediately that there were problems with both interconnectivity and state sovereignty in dealing with space. Thanks in part to World War I, the 1919 Paris Convention established the sovereignty of the airspace[2] Just 16 years after the Wright brothers were credited with the first flight and 6 years after the first passenger flight. After another world war and technological advances, a substantial movement to regulate outer space was stimulated in the international community. As with AI today, many scientific articles and books have been written to provide a framework for future regulation. It therefore seems that we are at a crucial time, similar to the beginning of the substantive development of space law, and that we should be ready to take the next steps without waging the world wars.

A recent example of the international community working together in setting parameters and leveraging a global technology that has changed the world is Internet Assigned Names and Numbers Corporation (ICANN). ICANN provides an essential link between the global web, businesses and the consumers they serve by managing databases of namespace and numeric storage on the Internet to ensure stable and secure network operations. ICANN is unique in that it is not a contract, but a government-registered non-profit organization.[3],[4] While ICANN may not be the best model for international cooperation in regulating AI when compared to maintaining a registry database due to the nature of AI, it demonstrates unprecedented international cooperation in advancing the economy, technology and society. ICANN has shown that countries can work together internationally without being forced by conflict, and it highlights that some problems have international outcomes that the world should solve, and that the United States can take the lead in those areas. The US Department of Defense funded the earliest iteration of ICANN and turned control over to the Department of Commerce as global use of the Internet increased. ICANN recognized the potential of a global multi-stakeholder community and was founded in 1998.

There is increasing writing about how states individually – and the world at large – should regulate AI, but no country has yet made efforts to lead international efforts on regulation and ethics. The new Biden administration has the opportunity to take the lead and work towards laws that encourage the development of AI and commercial growth, but also protect people, states and the environment from countries that would develop AI in dangerous ways.

[1] Abbott, Ryan, The Sane Robot: Artificial Intelligence and the Law (Cambridge, 2020), 77 Dec.

[2] Space law issues. (2019). “The Paris Convention of 1919”. Retrieved from https://www.spacelegalissues.com/space-law-the-paris-convention-of-1919/ on December 29, 2020

[3] Internet Corporation for assigned names and numbers. (nd). “ICANN History Project”. Retrieved from https://www.icann.org/history on December 29, 2020

[4] ICANN is governed by the laws of the US state California.

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