Foresight in AI Regulation Open Letter

The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) promises dramatic changes in our economic and social structures as well as everyday life in Europe and elsewhere; it has been compared to both electricity and the internet. Both are general, ubiquitous, and reshaped the world. But the internet analogy is more apt, for while electricity requires standards and regulation, it just works the way it works; but the functioning of the internet and its economy were largely shaped by key policy choices made along the way. We now sit in the early days of AI, and the choices we make over the next decade will crucially shape its place in and relation to society. We applaud the European Commission for tackling the challenge of determining the role that government can and should play and support meaningful regulations of AI systems in high-risk application areas. The stakes are high, and the potential ability of AI to remake institutions means that it is wise to consider novel approaches to governance and regulation, rather than assuming that existing structures will suffice.

The Commission will undoubtedly receive detailed feedback from many corporations, industry groups, and think tanks representing their own and others’ interests, which in some cases involve weakening regulation and downplaying potential risks related to AI. We hope that the Commission will stand firm in doing neither. Moreover, as experts who have been involved for years or decades in developing the core technologies, we would like to emphasize one central point: that while it is difficult to forecast exactly how or how fast technological progress will occur, it is easy to predict that it will occur. It is imperative, then, to consider AI not just as it is now, represented largely by a few particular classes of data-driven machine learning systems, but in the forms it is likely to take.

AI does and will come in many forms, including as intelligent software tools, as integrated into massive online systems, and as instantiated as software agents designed to substitute for humans. Each of these raises particular issues and challenges: how do we govern recommendation tools whose recommendations are difficult to predict or understand? How do we manage massive systems that mediate interactions between people, and in which people serve as part of the system? What do we do with software agents that replace people in their jobs or impersonate people in their interactions?
These and many other questions are challenging but largely addressable through proper governance for today’s AI systems. But in each case AI systems of the future will be more capable, more flexible, more general, more continually learning — in short, more intelligent! Laws and regulations can have a defining role in industries, set powerful precedents, and can sometimes hold sway long after their intended lifespan. It is important that in crafting legislation now, the Commission considers, in consultation with high-level experts, the many forms that AI is likely to take, and the capabilities that it will at least potentially have in years to come.

The EU has already shown foresight and clear leadership in adopting meaningful regulations in other technology issues. We, the co-signed experts, support the Commission in taking a meaningful, future-oriented approach regarding the effects of AI systems on the rights and safety of EU citizens.

The list of signatories includes:

Yoshua Bengio, University of Montreal, Professor of Computer Science, Scientific Director of MILA

Stuart Russell, Berkeley, Professor of Computer Science, director of the Center for Intelligent Systems, and co-author of the standard textbook “Artificial Intelligence: a Modern Approach”

Bart Selman, Cornell University, Professor of Computer Science

Leslie Pack Kaelbling, MIT, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, Director of Embodied Intelligence Community of Research, CSAIL

Toby Walsh, UNSW Sydney, Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence

Kristinn R. Thórisson, Reykjavik University, Professor of Computer Science, The Icelandic Institute for Intelligent Machines

Maria Chiara Carrozza, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Professor of Industrial Bioengineering, The Biorobotics Institute

Roberto Di Cosmo, Inria and University of Paris, Computer Science Professor

Alex Freitas, University of Kent, Professor of Computational Intelligence

Luis Moniz Pereira, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Professor Emeritus of Computer Science

Robert Kowalski, Imperial College London, Emeritus Professor Department of Computing

Lorenza Saitta, Università del Piemonte Orientale, Italy, Emeritus Professor of Computer Science

Klaus-Dieter Althoff, University of Hildesheim, Professor of Artificial Intelligence

Nick Taylor, Heriot-Watt University, UK, Professor of Computer Science, Deputy Director at Edinburgh Centre for Robotics

Dagmar Monett, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany, Professor of Computer Science, AGISI.org

Domenico Talia, University of Calabria, Italy, Professor of Computer Engineering

Anca Dragan, UC Berkeley, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences

Dorsa Sadigh, Stanford, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering

Max Tegmark, MIT, Professor of Physics, co-founder of Future of Life Institute and Foundational Questions Institute

Vincent Conitzer, Duke University, Kimberly J. Jenkins University Distinguished Professor of New Technologies, Professor of Computer Science, Professor of Economics, and Professor of Philosophy

Joe Halpern, Cornell University, Joseph C. Ford Professor, Computer Science Department

Tom Heskes, Radboud University, The Netherlands, Professor of Artificial Intelligence

Wolfgang Ertel, Ravensburg-Weingarten University, Germany, Professor of Artificial Intelligence

Jörg Hoffmann, Saarland University, Germany, Professor of Computer Science

Wolfgang Konen, TH Köln (Cologne University of Applied Sciences), Germany, Professor of Applied Computer Science and Mathematics

Vincent Corruble, Sorbonne Université (LIP6), France, Associate Professor of Computer Science

Johann Blieberger, Institute for Computer-Engineering, TU Wien, Austria, Professor Computer Engineering

Hector Geffner, ICREA and Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain, Professor of Computer Science

Andrea Bonarini, Politecnico di Milano, Italy, Full Professor Department of Electronics, Information, and Bioengineering

Fabrice Popineau, CentraleSupelec and LRI, France, Computer Science Professor

Pedro U. Lima, Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), U. Lisbon, Portugal, Full Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Joao Leite, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal, Professor Computer Science Department

F. Amilcar Cardoso, University of Coimbra, Portugal, Professor Artificial Intelligence

Benedita Malheiro, Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Portugal, Professor Electrical and Computer Engineering

Juris Borzovs, Latvijas Universitate, Latvia, Professor, Vice-Dean Faculty of Computing

Samer Hassan, UCM & Harvard University, Madrid, Associate Professor of Computer Science

Paolo Torroni, University of Bologna, Italy, Associate Professor of Computer Science

Peter Sincak, TU Kosice, Slovakia, Professor and Head of Department of Cybernetics and Artificial Intelligence

Walter Daelemans, University of Antwerp, Belgium, Professor in Computational Linguistics

Ivan Bratko, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, Professor of Computer Science

Salvador García, University of Granada, Spain, Professor of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence

Diego Calvanese, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano and Umeå University, Italy, Prof of Computer Science

Jörg Siekman, Saarbrücken University, DFKI, Germany, Professor for Computer Science and AI

Thore Husfeldt, Lund University and ITU Copenhagen, Sweden, Professor of Computer Science

Georgios N. Yannakakis, Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta & Technical University of Crete, Malta, Professor and Director

Matjaz Gams, Jozef Stefan Institute, Slovenia, Department of Intelligent systems, National Council for Science

Gregorio de Miguel Casado, Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain, Assistant Professor

Grigorios Tsoumakas, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, Assistant Professor of Machine Learning and Knowledge Discovery

Vassilis P. Plagianakos, University of Thessaly, Greece, Professor and Founder of the Intelligent Systems Lab of the Department of Computer Science and Biomedical Informatics

Marcel van Gerven, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University, the Netherlands, Professor of Artificial Intelligence

Max Hinne, Radboud University, the Netherlands, Assistant professor Department of Artificial Intelligence

Pablo Lanillos, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University, the Netherlands, Assistant Professor in Cognitive AI

Pim Haselager, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Dpt. of Artificial Intelligence, Radboud University, Associate Professor Theoretical Cognitive Science

Helge Langseth, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Professor of Computer Science

Keith Linn Downing, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Professor of Artificial Intelligence

Zhirong Yang, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Professor in Norwegian Open AI Lab

Kerstin Bach, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Associate Professor of Artificial Intelligence

Agnar Aamodt, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Professor of Artificial Intelligence

Odd Erik Gundersen, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Associate Professor Department of Computer Science

Pinar Øzturk, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Associate Professor Department of Computer Science

Devdatt Dubhashi, Chalmers University, Sweden, Professor Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, Professor of Computer Science

Ivica Crnkovi, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, Professor in Software Engineering, director of Chalmers AI research centre

Jörg Siekmann, Saarbrücken University, DFKI Germany, Professor for Computer Science and AI

German Vidal, VRAIN, Universitat Politecnica de Valencia, Professor of Computer Science

Stefan Trausan-Matu, University Politehnica of Bucharest, Romania, Professor of Computer Science

Adina Magda Florea, University Politehnica of Bucharest, Professor of Computer Science, Vice Rector

Salvatore Gaglio, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Italy, Full Professor Artificial Intelligence

Jean-Christophe Janodet, University of Evry, France, Professor of Computer Science

Guillaume Aucher, University of Rennes, France, Associate Professor of Computer Science

Carles Ventura, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, Professor in the Faculty of Computer Science, Multimedia and Telecommunication

Fredrik Heintz, Linköping University, Sweden, Associate Professor of Computer Science

Fernando Fernández Rebollo, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain, Associate Professor Computer Science Department

Laura Alonso Alemany, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina, Full Professor Department of Computer Science

Ricardo Oscar Rodriguez, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Professor of Computer Science

Maria Vanina Martinez, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina, Researcher and Professor of Computer Science

Ramon F. Brena, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico, Full professor at the Dept of Computer Science

Raúl Monroy, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico, Professor of Computer Science

Peter van Beek, University of Waterloo, Professor of Computer Science

Hristijan Gjoreski, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, Macedonia, Assistant Professor at Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technologies

Chrisina Jayne, Teesside University, UK, Dean of School of Computing, Engineering and Digital Technologies

Engelbert Mephu Nguifo, University Clermont Auvergne, France, Professor

Huw Price, University of Cambridge, Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy, Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, co-founder of the Center for the Study of Existential Risk

Jaan Tallinn, co-founder of Centre for Study of Existential Risk

Olle Häggström, Chalmers University of Technology, Professor of Mathematical Statistics

José Hernández-Orallo, Professor at the Universitat Politecnica de Valencia, Spain, and Associate Fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence

S. M. Amadae, University of Helsinki, MIT, Cambridge University, Stanford University, Lecturer in Political Science

Zlatko Lagumdzija, Professor of Management and IT, former Prime minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Nicolas Miailhe, Founder & President, The Future Society

Cyrus Hodes, Chair of The AI Initiative, The Future Society

Nicolas Moës, Head of Operations, AI Policy Researcher, The Future Society

Anna Alexandrova, University of Cambridge, Reader in Philosophy of Science

Shahar Avin, University of Cambridge, Senior Researcher Associate, Centre for Study of Existential Risk

Natalie Jones, University of Cambridge, Research Associate, Centre for Study of Existential Risk

Clarissa Rios Rojas, University of Cambridge, Research Associate, Centre for Study of Existential Risk

Alexa Hagerty, University of Cambridge, Research Associate, Centre for Study of Existential Risk

Asaf Tzachor, University of Cambridge, Research Associate, Centre for Study of Existential Risk

Luke Kemp, University of Cambridge, Research Associate, Centre for Study of Existential Risk

Haydn Belfield, University of Cambridge, Academic Project Manager, Centre for Study of Existential Risk

Sean O hEigeartaigh, University of Cambridge, Programme Director, Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence

Rune Nyrup, University of Cambridge, Senior Research Fellow, Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence

Karina Vold, University of Cambridge, Research Associate, Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence

Geoff Keeling, University of Cambridge, Research Assistant, Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence

Daniel Eth, Oxford University, Senior Research Scholar, Future of Humanity Institute

Lewis Hammond, Oxford University, DPhil Affiliate, Future of Humanity Institute

Björn Gambäck, RISE, Research Institutes of Sweden; Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Professor of Language Technology

Marco Forzati, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Data Analysis Director

Torbjörn Lundh, Chalmers University of Technology, and University of Gothenburg, Sweden, Professor of Biomathematics

Marina Axelson-Fisk, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, Professor in Mathematical Statistics

Kalle Åström, Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Lund University, Sweden, Professor in Mathematics

Claes Strannegård, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, Data Science and AI division Professor

Holger Rootzén, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, Professor in Mathematical Statistics

Marc Maceira, UOC, Barcelona, Assistant professor

Thanasis Daradoumis, University of the Aegean, Open University of Catalonia, Professor Department of Cultural Technology and Communication

Pere Tuset, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Computer Science, Multimedia and Telecommunication

João Balsa, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal, Assistant Professor Computer Science Department

Frieder Stolzenburg, Harz University of Applied Sciences, Germany, Professor of Knowledge-Based Systems

Jordi Conesa, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain, Associate Professor of Computer Science

Jordi Casas-Roma, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science

Umberto Picchini, Chalmers University and University of Göteborg, Sweden, Associate Professor in Mathematical Statistics

Karl de Fine Licht, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, Senior Lecturer in Ethics and Technology

Giulio Mecacci, Radboud University, the Netherlands, Assistant Professor, Ethics of AI

Tim Kietzmann, Radboud University, the Netherlands, Assistant Professor AI

Daniel Riera Terrén, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain, Dean of the Computing, multimedia and telecommunication’s department

Marzyeh Ghassemi, University of Toronto, Canada, Professor in Computer Science and Medicine

Chris J. Maddison, University of Toronto, Canada, Assistant Professor Department of Computer Science

Roger Grosse, University of Toronto, Canada, Assistant Professor Computer Science Department

Nicolas Papernot, University of Toronto, Canada, Assistant Professor of Electrical, Computer Engineering and Computer Science, Canada CIFAR AI Chair

Sheila McIlraith, University of Toronto, Canada, Professor in the Department of Computer Science

Jennifer Nagel, University of Toronto, Canada, Professor of Philosophy and Research Lead, Schwarz Reisman Institute

Gillian Hadfield, University of Toronto, Canada, Director and Schwartz Reisman Chair in Technology and Society

Juliana Schroeder, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, Professor, Management of Organizations

Agustín Gravano, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella + CONICET, Argentina, Professor in the Business School

Espen Haugsdal, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, PhD Candidate

Silvester Sabathiel, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, PhD Candidate

Håkon Måløy, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, PhD Candidate

Ludvig Killingberg, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, PhD Candidate

Daniel Groos, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, PhD Research Fellow

Shivam Nalin Patel, Research Assistant, University of Montréal, MILA

María Aurora Martínez rey, Universidad a Distancia de Madrid, Spain, Research Associate

Jan-Pieter Paardekooper, Radboud University, the Netherlands, Research fellow

Joan Casas-Roma, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), Spain, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dylan Hadfield-Menell, University of California, Berkeley EECS; Center for Human-Compatible AI, PhD Candidate

Alex Turner, Oregon State University, PhD research fellow

Peter Eckersley, Former Director of Research Partnership on AI, and Chief Computer Scientist, EFF

Jessica Newman, UC Berkeley AI Security Initiative, Program Lead

Caroline Jeanmaire, UC Berkeley Center for Human-Compatible AI, Director of Strategic Research and Partnerships