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Courses / Modules / LAWS6201 Artificial Intelligence Regulation: Theory and Practice

Artificial Intelligence Regulation: Theory and Practice

When you'll study it
Semester 2
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 7
Module lead
Michael Da Silva
Academic year

Module overview

Why and how we should regulate Artificial Intelligence (AI)? This module will systematically analyse these questions with reference to existing AI laws, drawing on contemporary theoretical discourse, analytical frameworks, and a selection of case-study investigations. AI is disrupting core industries and public policies with driverless cars, AI-enabled medical devices, autonomous weapons systems, personalised entertainment, digital artists, ‘intelligent’ virtual assistants, and artificial recruiters amongst its many applications. AI promises unprecedented potential to advance human interests. However, it also poses many risks. Current evidence suggests that some AI can misinform and manipulate human behaviour, violate individual privacy, increase socio-economic inequalities, and enhance bias in decision-making, even when used in good faith. Some even believe it could pose an existential threat to a sustainable future. For example, acting as a double-edge sword, new AI-based environmental applications pledge to contribute to global sustainability objectives, whilst, simultaneously, AI’s energy footprint raises concerns that it could impede progress on climate change.

In response to the rapid deployment of AI technology across numerous sectors, legislators and regulators enact diverse governance models to control the development, circulation and use of AI applications. Taking a pro-active approach, the European Union’s AI Act aims to introduce the world’s first comprehensive framework for regulating AI technology. In contrast, other jurisdictions depart from holistic approaches and favour sector-based regulatory interventions. These efforts seek to strike a balance between enabling progressive innovation and preventing AI causing harm to human sustainability.

This module will examine the design and implementation of current national and supranational efforts to regulate AI applications in specific areas, comparing their normative standards, institutional arrangements and enforcement mechanisms. It will offer concepts, analytical frameworks, and methods for evaluating regulatory objectives, policy priorities, and outcomes. Moreover, it will investigate key ethical and socio-economic risks associated with the deployment of AI applications. The module adopts an approach that bridges theoretical inquiry and an examination of contemporary problematics arising in with the use of AI in practice. In the first part, the module will place AI regulation within the theoretical discourse on regulating technology and examine current regulatory paradigms. In the second part, it will study a selection of specific case-studies of AI laws from diverse sectors.