Top AI Policy Triumphs to Remember from This Year

The year 2023 has seen significant developments in artificial intelligence (AI) policies on a global scale. Three key milestones have marked this year, including U.S. President Joe Biden’s executive order on artificial intelligence, the U.K.’s AI Safety Summit, and the E.U.’s AI Act. These actions reflect the world’s increased focus on addressing the risks and impacts of AI technologies in various sectors.

In October, President Biden signed a long-awaited executive order to address the risks posed by powerful AI systems, the impacts of automation on the labor market, and possible violations of civil rights and privacy. The response to the order was generally positive, although some experts believe more forceful regulations will require Congress to pass a law.

In November, officials from 28 countries participated in the first AI Safety Summit held at U.K.’s Bletchley Park estate. The summit concluded with all participant countries signing a declaration emphasizing the risks posed by powerful AI, the creators’ responsibility to ensure their systems are safe, and a commitment to international cooperation to mitigate these risks. The summit was praised as a “major diplomatic achievement”, though some criticized the lack of civil society inclusion.

The E.U.’s AI Act, announced in 2021 and entering the final legislative process stage in 2023, faced several pushbacks from member states advocating for lighter regulations. However, stricter regulation proponents prevailed, and an agreement was reached in December. The act, as provisionally agreed, could ban certain uses of AI such as emotion recognition systems in workplaces or schools, and impose strict regulation on AI used in high-risk areas such as law enforcement and education.

Future efforts include U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s push for comprehensive AI legislation, and potential reports from a newly formed AI advisory body that could shape a new U.N. AI agency. As AI technology continues to advance rapidly, these policy developments is crucial in mitigating associated risks and optimizing its benefits.