Regulatory approaches to guiding ICT innovation – The age of self-regulation has ended – Flash 10 2019

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20 June 2019 | 11:45-12:15 | EVEREST 1 & 2
Consolidated programme 2019 overview

Session teaser

Let's explore regulatory approaches with an open mind, willing to consider and critique all forms of regulations.

Session description


We will discuss regulatory approaches for guiding ICT innovation. The age of self-regulation has ended. We must urgently build international standards, certificates and governance framework for ICT regulation in general.

To enhance and secure democracy and humanity in global society development and evolution, an ecosystem building with both technological innovation and its governance regulation will be the very 1st step. Accountability of technology industry and its governance for all global society should secure the solid foundation of societal / institutional functions and their effectiveness by legally binding hard law.

Following a year of unending parliamentary inquiries, congressional hearings and regulatory investigations against online platform companies, there is a growing consensus that the age of voluntary self-regulation has ended. At the same time however, the pressure for rapid innovation to keep up with international competition is showing no signs of demising.

What regulatory options are there for guiding the direction of ICT innovation in ways that will improve society? In this session we want to explore regulatory approaches with an open mind, willing to consider and critique all forms of regulation.


As with much of the digital economy, the use of algorithmic systems is characterised by a high degree of cross-border and global reach of the services that are built on these technologies. To successfully govern algorithmic systems therefore requires global dialogue and collaboration across borders and among rich and poor countries to avoid a patchwork of country-specific or regional approaches.

The narrative of a “4th Industrial Revolution” with winner-takes-all dynamics however has led some to advance a narrative of an “AI arms race”. In such a hyper-competitive environment there are strong pressures to push for computational efficiency and functional performance of algorithmic systems at the expense of ethical considerations.

Without multilateral negotiation there is a risk that under these competitive conditions any regulatory intervention to mandate algorithmic accountability may be interpreted as protectionist interventionism intended to block market access by foreign companies. In the context of these global dynamics, proposals for new e-commerce trade agreements are being discussed at the WTO (and elsewhere, e.g. RCEP), which include clauses for Intellectual Property protection that would restrict access to information regarding proprietary algorithms.

International tensions also arise from the use of algorithmic systems for social media bots, micro-targeting of political ads and other interventions in the informational integrity of national electoral processes, as well as offensive cyber operations. In order to effectively respond to such interference without resorting to bilateral escalation of cyber operations, it is important to have a broad international community involved in publicly establishing methods and guidelines around attribution of such attacks and defining of proportionate responses.


Brief introduction to the issues, followed by open lively uninhibited discussion to bring constructive serious honest concerns and enhance the discussion for creative solutions with common shared values and identified goals.

Further reading


Key participants: