AI Policy – Estonia

Estonia has long been at the forefront of instituting digital technologies into government and throughout its society (referred to as “e-governance”). The country is now investing in AI, and developing a legal framework around its use. Initially, the Estonian government was pursuing the best way to integrate autonomous vehicles onto the roads, but determined it was better to develop broader plans for AI that are not sector-specific given that questions around issues such as cybersecurity, enforcement, and ethics cut across sectors. By developing an holistic approach, Estonia hopes to encourage quicker dissemination of these technological developments. Marten Kaevats, adviser for digital innovation at the strategy unit of the Estonian Government explained, “Working only on traffic laws is kind of unreasonable, because the issue of Artificial Intelligence is much wider and the scope is quite bigger.”

Estonia is developing a bill for AI liability which will be ready in March 2019. The government hopes the legal framework will attract investors by providing a simple, comprehensive guideline to enable the broad use of AI systems. This effort will be assisted by the use of a closed blockchain system which is intended to promote data integrity and security. To inform the bill and the discussion of the issues at stake, Estonia launched a public debate and consultation in September 2017. The government will also establish an AI Task Force to define legal, business, and communications strategies.

 

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