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Economic regulation and impact: is Belgium fit for the AI age?

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Sign up for the webinar "Economic Regulation and Impact: is Belgium fit for the AI age?" on the 1st of February 2022 at 9 am.

About this event

Can AI-systems be qualified as inventors? What if a product implementing AI changes its behaviour during its lifespan causing safety issues? What about using AI for profiling insurance clients?

The FPS Economy ordered a study to examine whether economic regulation in certain domains in Belgium is still fit for purpose in light of the AI-revolution. The study having been finalised, experts and the public are consulted on its findings.

In a webinar co-organised by the FPS Economy, the FPS BOSA, AI4Belgium and CiTiP and CRIDS, the researchers of the study, the results to the main question will be shared as well as possible measures to close the gaps that have been identified.

After CiTiP and CRIDS have presented their particular study topic, discussion panels with AI4Belgium & FPS BOSA experts, together with the audience, will be invited to ask questions and to give their view on the topics presented.

Agenda

1. Practical information

2. Welcome

3. General introduction to the study

4. Presentations on the work packages

a. Presentation on IP

The presentation on IP will address the interaction between intellectual property (IP) law and AI and present the most important findings. The requirements for IP protection (including copyright and patent law) often contain references to human actors which render it difficult to apply the relevant concepts to AI-supported creations. A crucial step in that regard is to distinguish AI-assisted creations (protectable) from AI-generated creations (unprotectable), whereby the latter refer to entirely autonomous creations by AI-systems without significant relevant human intervention. Other issues also arise with regard to the practical impact that AI may have on our current IP system (e.g. sufficiency of disclosure) and the risk of international regulatory competition with regard to the protection of AI-generated creations. Taking into account these various issues, a list of proposals has been formulated that should strengthen the existing IP framework while also supporting the promotion of the development, uptake and the use of AI-technology in Belgium and the European Union (EU).

Discussion panel

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Parallel presentation on Competition law and Consumer

Competition law in Belgium is governed by norms laid down at the European level, namely the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFUE). This part of the presentation focuses on how these European rules are applicable to AI-systems.

In the study we identified two situations created by the use of AI which could be problematic from a competition perspective:

(i) Collusion by algorithm

(ii) Price discrimination

Since the anti-competitive behaviours created by the use of AI were not envisaged in the TFEU, the current regulatory framework is not sufficient to tackle these issues. For this reason, the presentation will ultimately propose recommendations to address these gaps.

The presentation on consumer protection focuses on Belgian legislation in that domain, in relation to AI-systems. Several legal rules are discussed, from two different perspectives:

(i) Consumer protection rules are analysed in the case where AI is the object of a contract concluded between an undertaking and a consumer. This analysis notably encompasses legal rules on warranty, information duties, unfair commercial practices and liability for defective products.

(ii) Consumer protection rules are examined in the case where AI is used to conclude a contract with a consumer. This notably encompasses rules on the use of automated means for prospection, information duties, unfair commercial practices, and requirements for consent.

Throughout this analysis, potential gaps in the existing legal framework are highlighted. Based on these, the presentation moves on to propose several policy measures aimed at tackling the potential gaps detected.

Discussion panel

BREAK

b. Presentation on E-commerce + EIDAS and Insurance

The presentation on e-commerce consists in the identification of existing and future legislation in that domain and how it affects the use of AI. Throughout this analysis, potential gaps in the existing legal framework are highlighted. However, the presentation will also explain how most of these gaps are addressed in the European legislation proposals that are currently in the legislative process. The presentation will conclude by summarizing the remaining gaps and possible solutions.

The presentation on EIDAS consists in a brief analysis of the electronic identification and trust service regulation and how it interacts with AI systems. In our opinion, there are no gaps concerning the use of artificial intelligence in the field of electronic identification. Nonetheless, we go a little bit further by making suggestions which could foster the use of AI applications in general.

Finally, the use of AI by insurance companies might have multiple benefits to insurance companies as well as to insureds/beneficiaries and third parties but, at the same time, also raises various concerns and points for consideration. The presentation will point out the proposals made in the study, which aim to be as technology-neutral and future-proof as possible and take into account the interests of all parties involved.

Discussion panel

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Parallel presentation on AI Safety & Cybersecurity

The focus of the presentation on AI Safety & Cybersecurity is to provide a brief overview of the several and varied regulatory regimes under the jurisdiction that serve to mitigate harms caused by and to AI systems. A first important finding is that the regulatory framework is a patchwork of varied types of legislation (contract law, tort law, product safety laws, data protection laws, cybersecurity laws, both general and sectoral). These regimes all have specific scopes and cover specific types of harm. A common thread is that they tend to combine open standards of care with a reference to standardization as a way to operationalize open behavioral norms into (presumed) best practices. Many of these rules, such as the product safety framework, the GDPR and cybersecurity laws are regulated at EU level.

This patchwork, as well as the absence and slow development of concrete standards concerning AI safety, are a cause of concern, as they allow risk coverage gaps to occur and redouble work at the same time. Convergence of these regimes is required, as well as clear standardization, sooner rather than later. To be sure, the EU legislator and international standardization organisations are already on this; therefore, the focus of Belgium should be on the support of these rules, and increased awareness campaigns to ensure their use by the general population.

Discussion panel

BREAK

c. Presentation on Data-economy

The presentation on data-economy focuses on the analysis of existing legislation, recent legislative proposals and soft law, regarding the legal framework in that domain in relation to AI. Several legal rules are discussed, from two different perspectives:

(i) Data sharing rules are analysed in the case where they apply with a limited range, that is to through the mechanism of data portability. This analysis notably encompasses rules arising from the fields of data protection, payment services, supply of digital content, and non-personal data flows.

(ii) Data sharing rules are examined in the case where they apply with a broader range, that is to say regarding numerous individuals, entities or objects. This analysis notably encompasses soft law principles, rules on public sector information, the Proposal Data Governance Act, and the Proposal Digital Markets Act.

Throughout this analysis, potential gaps in the existing legal framework are highlighted. Based on these, the presentation moves on to propose several policy measures aimed at tackling the potential gaps detected.

Discussion panel

5. Closure

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Organizer of Economic regulation and impact: is Belgium fit for the AI age?

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