When it comes to preparing for disasters, fine-grained failure scenarios are what matter

–Fine-grained analyses of public policy and management are always welcome, but they not to be confused with the policy and management relevance that comes with more granular failure scenarios for those policies and management interventions.

–For example, the authors of what is in my opinion a very fine report conclude that significant gaps exist between what’s proposed in the EU AI Act (concerning artificial intelligence) and the existing EU digital legislation (formally “the digital acquis”):

We identify eight key areas where challenges may emerge, and make the following policy recommendations: 1) there is a need to clarify and align the terminology with the legal categories and notions in existing EU legislation related to AI; 2) negotiators should ensure better fine-tuning of the interactions of the act with sector-specific rules (notably in the health sector); 3) the act should be made consistent with EU data protection rules, for example regarding the lawfulness of personal data processing; 4) the act’s risk-based approach features a number of loopholes that need to be addressed to improve legal certainty for AI providers and users; 5) while the act aims to complement existing product safety rules, it requires more detailed provisions to allow for meaningful integration with EU acquis; 6) the act introduces a weak enforcement scheme, which should be strengthened and aligned with other digital policies; 7) EU legislators should tackle the growing divergence between the stated goals of the act and emerging data transfer rules; and 8) the act would benefit from exemptions aimed at promoting scientific research.

Bogucki, A., A. Engler, C. Perarnaud, and A. Renda (2022). THE AI ACT AND EMERGING EU DIGITAL ACQUIS: Overlaps, gaps and inconsistencies. CEPS: Brussels (accessed online on November 3 2022 at https://www.ceps.eu/ceps-publications/the-ai-act-and-emerging-eu-digital-acquis/)

Let’s assume you find their analysis as compelling as I do.

If so, the first question then isn’t, “Who’s going to adopt the recommendations and, if so, how soon and with what modifications?” but rather: “Who would implement the finalized recommendations and what are implementors’ scenarios for failing to do so?”

Implementation gaps are always there; realism about those to fill the gaps or fail in doing often isn’t.

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