EU regulation of Artificial intelligence in the shadow of global interdependence

RegulAite is a research project at the political science department of the University of Amsterdam. It is financed through a Vici grant of the Dutch Research Council (NWO; grant VI.C.211.032). RegulAite runs from September 2022 until August 2027.


What we study

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming societies, in both good ways and bad. That makes its effective regulation a paramount policy challenge of our time.

In April 2021, the European Commission has published its first proposal for European rules; since then, national governments and the European Parliament have been debating and negotiating their future shape. Yet their effectiveness and substance of any EU AI Act will depend heavily on developments and policies elsewhere in the world: EU AI regulation is marked by “regulatory interdependence”.

RegulAite studies how the EU navigates this global force field, and it zooms in on the regulatory interdependence the EU confronts in its external relations regarding AI—what we call “EU AI diplomacy”. We investigate four key axes of EU AI diplomacy: EU interactions with (1) the USA, (2) China, (3) intergovernmental standard-setting forums, and (4) private regulatory initiatives. Does the EU for example shut its borders to unwelcome foreign AI, or push international minimum rules? Or maybe embrace an “AI race” with other technological superpowers?

Fusing scientific analysis and real-world impact

RegulAite is committed both to rigorous scientific analysis and to real-world impact. Digital technologies should primarily serve society and citizens, not governments or large corporations. Public rules are essential to channel AI’s enormous potential.

From a European perspective, that means heeding regulatory interdependence—the global AI force field—as an EU approach is established. RegulAite’s mission is to bolster regulatory debates, and thereby public sovereignty over AI, through analysis of the global context in which EU rules are crafted and will operate.

RegulAite empirically analyses the status quo in EU AI diplomacy to build theories of regulatory interdependence in AI. On that basis, project researchers assess alternative future scenarios for EU AI diplomacy and their implications for effective regulation. Our mission is to bring these insights into regulatory debates pro-actively and to serve as a centre of expertise for the dynamics that structure this field of global regulatory politics.