Nordic centre for internet and society

Town Hall Session at the Internet Governance Forum: Inclusive AI Regulation

On December 2, the town hall session ´Inclusive AI regulation: perspectives from four continents´ was held at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF 2022). Several members from the Nordic Centre contributed.

On December 2, the town hall session #55 Inclusive AI regulation: perspectives from four continents took place. The event brought together perspectives from across four continents to reflect on the status quo of AI governance, with a specific emphasis on inclusion. The Nordic Centre for Internet and Society members Samson Esayas (Associate Professor) and Sandra Cortesi (Adjunct Researcher) held briefs about the state of AI governance in their respective context, and the Centre´s Christoph Lutz was the online moderator of the event.

Samson: four drivers of the discussion regarding the European regulatory process

In his presentation, Samson noted that he sees four main drivers of AI governance in the European context. The first one is protection of fundamental rights, particularly privacy, freedom of expression, freedom against discrimination and the protection of vulnerable groups; The second driver is protection of the integrity of elections and against disinformation and other systemic dangers; The third driver is safety and allocation of liability; And as the fourth driver he sees data control and access. 

Furthermore, Samson spoke about his origin in the North of Ethiopia (Tigray), as the Internet Governance Forum 2022 took place in Ethiopia, where the Tigray region has been under communication and humanitarian blockade for over two years. He noted the urge for lifting of the blockade and the need for smaller communities, such as the one he comes from, to be included in partaking in regulatory processes as well. 

Sandra Cortesi reflecting on the state of AI governance in North America

Reflecting on the state of AI governance in North America, and the United States in particular, Sandra Cortesi showed that many conversations are taking place to develop a diverse range of norms for governing AI. Consequently, in terms of inclusion of stakeholders, there is a wide variety of participants in the development of AI issues.

Sandra also noted that even though many conversations are happening, there are still participation gaps. One example is the participation of young people, as it seems that they are not part of the wide AI governance agenda. 

In addition to Samson and Sandra, Celina Bottino Beatriz (ITS Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Shaun Pather (University of the Western Cape) shared their perspectives on the state of AI governance in their respective contexts. Celina highlighted that there are still complex infrastructure hurdles that have not been overcome, and that advances in AI Regulation mostly do not address the infrastructure gap. Shaun also pointed out that a digital divide exists, and referred to recent ITU studies which show that 2.7 billion people are still offline.

Janaina Costa (ITS Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) was the on-site moderator in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), where IGF 2022 took place in a hybrid format. Christian Perrone (ITS Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) served as the rapporteur. 

After the four input presentations, the presenters answered questions from the on-site and online audience and engaged in fruitful discussions between each other. They concluded that conversations are being led by Global North countries, and that other countries and regions, as well as local communities, should be called upon to participate. Furthermore, it was emphasized that it is significant that we bound together and coordinate efforts for having all continents represented.