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AI Regulation: How Could It Impact Everyday Life for Consumers and Businesses


Different AI regulatory regimes are currently emerging across Europe, the United States, China, and elsewhere. But what do these new regulatory regimes mean for companies and their adoption of self-regulatory and compliance-based tools and practices? This article outlines how and where AI regulations emerge and how these, in some cases, seem to be on divergent paths. Second, it discusses what this means for businesses and their global operations. Third, it comments on a way forward in the growing complexities of AI use and regulation, as it exists between soft law practices and emerging hard law measures.

AI Governance Conceptualized

Two distinct but connected forms of AI governance are currently emerging. One is soft law governance, which functions as self-regulation based on non-legislative policy instruments. This group includes private sector firms issuing principles, guidelines, and internal audits and assessment frameworks for developing ethical AI. Actionable mechanisms by the private sector usually focus on developing concrete technical solutions, including the development of internal audits, standards, or explicit normative encoding. Soft law governance also entails multi-stakeholder organizations such as The Partnership on AI, international organizations such as the World Economic Forum, standard-setting bodies such as the ISO/IEC, CEN/CENELEC, NIST and interest organizations such as the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), among others. This means that soft-law governance and associated mechanisms are essential in setting the default for how AI technologies are governed.


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