On Monday 10 February 2020, the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic and the Institute of State and Law of the Czech Academy of Sciences officially launched the Expert platform and forum for law and artificial intelligence (AI Observatory and Forum – AIO&F).
The Czech Republic as one of the first countries in the world established a specialized expert platform and forum focused on regulation of artificial intelligence. A modern format of so called Observatory and Forum commonly used by the European Commission interconnects experts and public as well as private sector. Establishing of the Expert platform for law and artificial intelligence is presumed in the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy of the Czech Republic that was adopted by the government on 7 May 2019. The activities of the platform will be organized by the Institute of State and Law of the Czech Academy of Sciences that is an expert co-coordinator of the national strategy, and by the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic together with the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic.
The State Secretary for European Affairs, Milena Hrdinková, stated that “artificial intelligence is one of the priority topics of the new European Commission. Already in this month the Commission shall publish the first proposal that will present various options on how to approach this topic from the perspective of European law. I am, therefore, glad that we managed to put together an expert team with which we will consult the European activities.” The Czech Republic has already provided its position on the planned activities of the European Union at the end of 2019 when the CR published own non-paper and presented it to respective European commissioners.
The main objectives of the platform are identification of legal obstacles to research, development and utilization of artificial intelligence and formulating proposals on how to eliminate them. Moreover, the platform shall develop legal and ethical recommendations for practice, provide space for public debate and engage the Czech Republic in international discussions on regulation of artificial intelligence and data economy.
The Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Petr Očko, expressed that “we are glad that the Czech Republic is one of the prominent countries in the debate on ethical development and regulation of the most advanced technologies such as the artificial intelligence. The establishment of this Expert platform and forum shows that in a short period of time we are able to meet objectives of the National AI Strategy that was approved by the government in the last year.”
The core of the Expert platform and forum consists of a team of independent experts that continuously monitors trends in research and development of AI, its social impact, development of legal and ethical rules in the Czech Republic and in other countries as well as on the international level. The platform cooperates closely with the AI Committee that is chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, Karel Havlíček, and that coordinates fulfilment of the National AI Strategy. Due to cooperation with the Platform for AI of the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic, the Expert platform also collects impulses from business, academia and non-profit sectors. The Expert platform shall formulate recommendations and propose the best practice to the Government of the Czech Republic.
Alžběta Krausová from the Institute of State and Law of the Czech Republic who organizes the activities of the Expert platform and forum stated that “in general we aim to help with creating socially and legally favorable environment for research, development and utilization of beneficial and responsible artificial intelligence. The expert platform should mainly contribute to formulate solutions that will ensure ethical approach to artificial intelligence, legal certainty, fairness and security.”
Information about activities of the Expert platform and forum will be published both in Czech and English language in order to increase visibility of the Czech Republic on the international level. The specialized websites observatory.ilaw.cas.cz shall serve as the first contact point and means of communication. The Expert platform and forum shall also invite foreign observers.
The Vice President of the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic, Milena Jabůrková, said that “we highly welcome this activity which is necessary especially for the industry as only the legislation that balances consumer protection with promoting innovation can help in increasing use of artificial intelligence in the Czech Republic and in the EU. It will help us in realizing our ambitions in this area.”