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Enhancing legal frameworks at the national and international level

Deliverable

Enhancing legal frameworks at the national and international level

Publication | 30 July 2022

In short

Recommendations for enhancing national and international legal frameworks are provided in this report. The regulatory challenges discussed were identified through the TechEthos legal analysis of international and European Union (EU) law, as well as national legal case studies. The report aims to inform policymakers at the international level, such as the United Nations (UN), and national governments on necessary changes in existing legal frameworks.

The recommendations are based on legal principles, ethical considerations, and input from TechEthos consortium partners and the Advisory and Impact Board (ADIM Board). The report also outlines the conditions required for implementing the suggested changes.

Author

Julie Vinders, Trilateral Research (TRI)

Date of publication

29 June 2023

Status

Draft version submitted to the European Commission for review

Cite this resource

Vinders, J. (2023). Enhancing legal frameworks at the national and international level. Deliverable 5.2 for the European Commission. TechEthos Project Deliverable. Available at: www.techethos.eu

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Can you change the world with 12.5 euros a day?

Can you change the world with 12.5 euros?

07 April 2023

Authored by: Ivan Yamshchikov
Reviewed by: Greta Alliaj and Cristina Paca

Opinion Piece | 07 April 2023

On January 18th 2023, Time Magazine published a story that put ChatGPT back in the news. Anybody interested in Artificial and Natural Intelligence couldn’t miss a headline like that:  “Exclusive: OpenAI Used Kenyan Workers on Less Than $2 Per Hour to Make ChatGPT Less Toxic”. If you did not read this work, please, do. Here’s the link. You need to know and think about it since you are using Artificial Intelligence daily, which will hardly change in the foreseeable future. For example, this text that you are reading right now might have appeared in your newsfeed because a “recommendation algorithm” found it for you, or because you found it while searching for something online. Somebody developed and trained these algorithms, while somebody else labelled the data for this training. 

This is not the first publication from Time Magazine about those people that tend to remain invisible whenever AI is mentioned: data labellers. In February 2022, Time published another great piece, “Inside Facebook’s African Sweatshop“. You can probably get the main message from the headlines, but I encourage you to read both articles before returning to this text.  I know it’s a lot to ask – we live with constantly divided attention, which is worsened by permanent time deficit. Nevertheless, it’s time well spent.

I hope you followed my advice, but in case you did not, here are several vital facts. Big Tech outsources data labelling to countries with lower levels of income. Data labellers have to deal with horrible content. I cannot put it mildly. The articles mention “sexual abuse, bestiality, rape, sexual slavery, graphic detail of death, violence, or serious physical injury”. People who label this content get around 1.5 dollars an hour working at least nine hours daily. Their mental health suffers and they do not always get proper counselling. Let these facts sting because they should. If you read this from the comfort of your home or office desk, those things take time to sink in.

One of my favourite books of all time is “Factfullness” by the late Hans Rosling. I remember seeing his talk “The best stats you’ve ever seen” and feeling an incredible surge of hope. I read “Factfullness”, published after he passed away, and learned one important lesson: context matters. We are used to the context we live in. This includes every little detail of our daily routine: from the price of coffee to our vacation plans. This defines what we find funny and what we find offensive. If you want to understand something, you have to put it into context. If you want to understand something far from your daily experience, you must try to reconstruct the context relevant to the issue you are trying to understand. We, as a species, are terrible at this task. Yet we make swift moral judgments that might affect our decisions. Moreover, we make moral judgments predicated on our daily experience and rarely consider the consequences of those judgments for the people who live lives very different from ours. Since both articles mentioned Kenya, let’s talk about it. 

You probably heard about the Big Mac index. It is one of the ways to estimate purchasing power in different regions of the world. I could not find the Big Mac index for Kenya, but thanks to McDonald’s eternal nemesis, Burger King, I managed to find a Whopper Index, which is fine with me. A whopper costs 590 Kenyan shillings, which is approximately 4.35 euros. A whopper in the local Burger King in Leipzig will cost me 8.69. Nine hours a day for 1.5 dollars per hour makes something like 12 Euros and 50 cents daily for Kenyan data labellers. If we adjust that salary for Kenyan purchasing power (assuming that the same amount of money buys you twice as many whoppers in Nairobi than in Berlin), we get 25 euros a day. You can tell me that 25 euros are still not a lot of money, especially if the person has to get that money at the price of their mental health. What difference does it make? The difference is that now you might better understand the data labellers’ actual condition. What if we add one more data point to this context?

The United Nations’ World Food Programme estimates that between October and December 2022, almost three and a half million people in Kenya were facing emergency levels of food scarcity. Five per cent of the country’s population is “in urgent need of food assistance”’. 25 euros buys you more than eight kilos of rice in Germany. When a human being has to choose between starving or watching harmful content nine hours a day, the choice is a no-brainer. 

How about some more facts to put the news into perspective? 1.5 dollars an hour,  a nine-hour-day and a five-day work week pay a salary comparable to the one that members of the “most trained and highly skilled with tactics police” get in Kenya. According to data by Payscale, this is approximately what an administrative assistant or office administrator makes in Nairobi. It is also approximately a quarter of what a Member of a County Assembly makes

Yes, 1.5 dollars an hour is a meagre wage. Yes, data labellers should be entitled to help from mental health practitioners. Yes, we can do better and we need high-quality journalists to tell these stories. We need to know about them. However, to do better globally, we also need to put these stories into perspective and remember that the only thing that makes people choose between mental health and starvation is poverty. And nothing in the known human history lifts the global population out of poverty faster than an alliance of science, technology, and free market competition. How do we balance those aspects? Can we ensure that the benefits of AI could improve the human condition globally and eventually change the economic situation for data labelers as well?

One possible path forward is to use regulation on the developed markets to encourage global collaboration but under two major conditions. First, we need to advocate for fair wages and mental health support. Companies should be held accountable for the working conditions of their employees, regardless of where they are based. Second, we can invest a part of AI’s productivity surplus globally into education and training. Developing local talent is crucial for economic growth. This investment in education should be understood in a broader sense. Companies need global talent, but we also need global founders. Modern education should encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. By investing in education and vocational training, countries can create a skilled workforce that attracts higher-paying jobs and reduces poverty. If we do it right, we can change the world with twelve euros and fifty cents a day. It will be a long and bumpy ride, but it’s worth trying. 

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Enhancing EU legal frameworks for neurotechnologies

Policy brief
Enhancing EU legal frameworks for Neurotechnologies

Policy brief | 28 February 2023

In short

Neurotechnologies refers to devices and procedures used to access, monitor, investigate, assess, manipulate, and/or emulate the structure and function of the neural systems of natural persons.

This policy brief sets out recommendations based on the regulatory priorities related to neurotechnologies that were identified in our analysis of EU laws and policies. We address them to EU policymakers and officials involved in the preparation of legislative or policy initiatives related to neurotechnologies, medical devices, dual-use items, privacy and data protection, and AI systems.

To protect and uphold ethical, legal and fundamental rights considerations in the development and deployment of neurotechnologies, TechEthos encourages policy makers to:

  • Recognise and define neurorights within the EU’s existing fundamental rights frameworks;
  • Clarify the legal status of brain and other neural data under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR);
  • Address justice, equality and discrimination gaps in neurotechnology applications and use cases;
  • Monitor and evaluate the adequacy of existing regulatory frameworks governing emerging use cases of neurotechnologies, such as consumer and dual-use applications;
  • Consider the appropriate types of legal or policy instruments for the regulation of neurotechnologies in the EU;
  • Clarify the regulation of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based neurotechnologies and consider specific use cases in the classification of neurotechnologies under the proposed AI Act.

Find out more about each recommendation by downloading the policy brief below.

Author

Julie Vinders, Trilateral Research (TRI), Ben Howkins, TRI.

Date of publication

28 February 2023

Cite this resource

Vinders, J., Howkins, B. (2023). Enhancing EU legal frameworks for Neurotechnologies. Extract from Deliverable 6.2 for the European Commission. TechEthos Project Deliverable. Available at: www.techethos.eu

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Enhancing EU legal frameworks for Digital Extended Reality

Policy brief
Enhancing EU legal frameworks for Digital Extended Reality

Policy brief | 28 February 2023

In short

Digital Extended Reality (XR) technologies technologies combine advanced computing systems (hardware and software) that can change how people connect with each other and their surroundings and influence or manipulate human actions through interactions with virtual environments.

This policy brief sets out recommendations based on the regulatory priorities – including privacy and data protection, the regulation of AI and harmful online content, freedom of expression, non-discrimination, and the protection of special categories of persons, especially children – identified in our analysis of EU laws and policies. We address them to EU policymakers and officials involved in the preparation of legislative or policy initiatives related to XR, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), the metaverse, natural language processing (NLP), privacy and data protection, and AI systems.

To protect and uphold ethical, legal and fundamental rights and sustainability considerations in the development and deployment of XR, TechEthos encourages policy makers to:

  • Promote EU fundamental rights and encourage the adoption of ethics-by-design approaches;
  • Broaden the scope of Article 9 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by removing the purpose requirement for biometric data to be classified as special category personal data;
  • Develop appropriate instruments to tackle and regulate harmful online content in XR technologies;
  • Consider specific use cases in the classification of XR technologies under the proposed Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act;
  • Promote the effective enforcement, monitoring and compliance with EU laws related to XR technologies, such as the GDPR, Digital Services Act (DSA), Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the proposed AI Act.

Find out more about each recommendation by downloading the policy brief below.

Author

Julie Vinders, Trilateral Research (TRI), Ben Howkins, TRI.

Date of publication

28 February 2023

Cite this resource

Vinders, J., Howkins, B. (2023). Enhancing EU legal frameworks for Digital Extended Reality. Extract from Deliverable 6.2 for the European Commission. TechEthos Project Deliverable. Available at: www.techethos.eu

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Enhancing EU legal frameworks for Solar Radiation Modification

Policy brief
Enhancing EU legal frameworks for Solar Radiation Modification

Policy brief | 28 February 2023

In short

Solar Radiation Modification (SRM) refers to a type of climate engineering technique that aims to reflect sunlight and heat back into space to reduce warming.

This policy brief sets out recommendations based on the regulatory challenges related to SRM that were identified in our analysis of EU laws and policies. We address them to EU policymakers and officials involved in the preparation of legislative or policy initiatives related to climate action, climate technologies, climate engineering, geoengineering, and SRM specifically.

To protect and uphold ethical, fundamental rights and sustainability considerations in the research and development of SRM, TechEthos encourages policy makers to:

  • Clarify the definition and various types of research activities that constitute SRM research;
  • Determine the conditions under which – if any – research into various types of SRM may be conducted;
  • Clarify the role – if any – of various types of SRM in alleviating the impacts of climate change;
  • Evaluate the effects of SRM research activities on EU fundamental rights and principles;
  • Collaborate internationally and evaluate existing international governance regimes

Find out more about each recommendation by downloading the policy brief below.

Author

Julie Vinders, Trilateral Research (TRI), Ben Howkins, TRI.

Date of publication

28 February 2023

Cite this resource

Vinders, J., Howkins, B. (2023). Enhancing EU legal frameworks for Solar Radiation Modification. Extract from Deliverable 6.2 for the European Commission. TechEthos Project Deliverable. Available at: www.techethos.eu

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Enhancing EU legal frameworks for Carbon Dioxide Removal

Policy brief
Enhancing EU legal frameworks for Carbon Dioxide Removal

Publication | 28 February 2023

In short

Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) is a type of climate engineering technique, also known as “negative emissions techniques”, that removes atmospheric CO2 and stores it in geological, terrestrial, or oceanic reservoirs.

This policy brief sets out recommendations based on the regulatory challenges related to CDR that were identified in our analysis of EU laws and policies. We address them to EU policymakers and officials involved in the preparation of legislative or policy initiatives related to climate action, climate technologies, climate engineering, geoengineering, carbon removal, and CDR specifically.

To protect and uphold ethical, fundamental rights and sustainability considerations in the research, development and deployment of CDR, TechEthos encourages policy makers to:

  • Clarify the EU’s terminology and rationale for the use of terms, including climate engineering, geoengineering, carbon removal and CDR, and pursue the harmonisation of terms to bring them in line with the terminology of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC);
  • Clarify what role – if any – CDR has to play in meeting the EU’s legally binding target of net-zero by 2050;
  • Explicitly incorporate EU fundamental rights into policies and decision-making processes governing CDR techniques in the EU;
  • Clarify the legal status of carbon removals and recognise them as distinct from emission reductions;
  • Define the sustainability requirements for CDR, particularly those in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the EU Taxonomy Regulation, and the Carbon Removal Certification Framework (CRCF) initiative;
  • Pursue greater international collaboration in relation to CDR to promote the standardisation of removal accounting to avoid double counting, and the enforcement of such standards;
  • Review the adequacy of environmental liability regimes in relation to CDR activities in the EU, including research and deployment.

Find out more about each recommendation by downloading the policy brief below.

Author

Julie Vinders, Trilateral Research (TRI), Ben Howkins, TRI.

Date of publication

28 February 2023

Cite this resource

Vinders, J., Howkins, B. (2023). Enhancing EU legal frameworks for Carbon Dioxide Removal. Extract from Deliverable 6.2 for the European Commission. TechEthos Project Deliverable. Available at: www.techethos.eu

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Enhancing EU law on emerging technologies

Publication
Enhancing EU law on emerging technologies: Our recommendations

Publication | 28 February 2023

In short

This report presents a series of policy briefs which offer recommendations to policymakers at the EU level to enhance legal frameworks for the governance of climate engineering (Carbon Dioxide Removal – CDR – and Solar Radiation Modification – SRM), neurotechnologies and digital extended reality (XR).

The recommendations are based on the legal and policy analysis of TechEthos: an in-depth look at international and EU law and policy and a series of national legal case studies. These findings were discussed and validated through consultation meetings with 14 policymakers at the European Commission.

Authors

Julie Vinders, Trilateral Research (TRI), Ben Howkins, TRI

Date of publication

28 February 2023

Status

Draft version submitted to the European Commission for review

Cite this resource

Vinders, J., Howkins, B. (2023). Policy briefs on enhancing EU legal frameworks. Deliverable 6.2 for the European Commission. TechEthos Project Deliverable. Available at: www.techethos.eu

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National legal cases on emerging technologies

Deliverable
National legal case studies on emerging technologies

Publication | 30 July 2022

In short

Climate engineering, neurotechnologies, and digital extended reality (XR) present many significant legal issues that impact socio-economic equality and fundamental rights. In most cases, there is only limited amount of comprehensive or dedicated national laws governing these technology families, though many elements of the technologies are subject to existing national legal frameworks.

This report explores and analyses relevant national laws in nine case studies for these three technology families: Climate Engineering in Australia, Austria and the United Kingdom, neurotechnologies in Germany, Ireland and the United States, and XR in France, Italy and the United Kingdom.

You can explore each individual case study or download the full comparative report further below.

  • Climate Engineering in Australia

    Download

  • Climate Engineering in Austria

    Download

  • Climate Engineering in the United Kingdom

    Download

  • Neurotechnologies in Germany

    Download

  • Neurotechnologies in Ireland

    Download

  • Neurotechnologies in the United States

    Download

  • Digital Extended Reality in Italy

    Download

  • Digital Extended Reality in France

    Download

  • Digital Extended Reality in the United Kingdom

    Download

Together with TechEthos’ analysis of international and EU law and policy, this analysis will serve as the basis for future work in the TechEthos project involving the development of recommendations for the adjustment or enhancement of legal frameworks at the national and/or international level, as well as policy briefs on the possible need for dedicated legislation at the EU level.

Authors

Julie Vinders, Trilateral Research (TRI), Ben Howkins, TRI, Nicole Santiago, TRI, Iva-Nicole Mavrlja, TRI, Rowena Rodrigues, TRI, Wenzel
Mehnert
AIT Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), Domenico Piero Muscillo, Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca Industriale (Airi), Gustavo Gonzalez, Airi, Marco Liut, Airi, Sara Morisani, Airi, Andrea Porcari, Airi, Laurynas Adomaitis, CEA, Alexei Grinbaum, CEA, Kathleen Richardson, De Monfort University (DMU), Nitika Bhalla, DMU, Lisa Häberlein, European Network of Research Ethics Committees (EUREC), Bennet Francis, University of Twente (UT), Dominic Lenzi, UT.

Date of publication

30 December 2022

Status

Draft version submitted to the European Commission for review

Cite this resource

Vinders, J., et al. (2022). TechEthos D4.2:
Comparative analysis of national legal case
studies. Deliverable 4.2 for the European Commission. TechEthos Project Deliverable. Available at: www.techethos.eu

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XR and General Purpose AI: from values and principles to norms and standards

Policy brief
XR and General Purpose AI: from values and principles to norms and standards

Policy brief | 22 February 2023

In short

The TechEthos project addressed the ethical challenges of eXtended Reality and Natural Language Processing. These topics belong to the larger area of General Purpose Artificial Intelligence.

We take the position that values and principles are not enough for AI regulation. European policy makers should go beyond merely listing such values and principles, because manufacturers may not immediately understand how to implement them in the design of AI systems. For EU regulation to be effective, we offer an operationalization of the values and principles in the form of suggested norms and standards.

This policy brief lists new and emerging issues to supplement, enhance and update the Assessment List for Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (ALTAI) developed by the High-Level Expert Group on AI. Based on our analysis, we formulate specific recommendations for AI regulation.

Authors

Laurynas Adomaitis, French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), Alexei Grinbaum, CEA.

Date of publication

22 February 2023

Cite this resource

Adomaitis, L. and Grinbaum A. (2023). XR and General Purpose AI: from values and principles to norms and standards. TechEthos Project Policy Brief. Available at: www.techethos.eu

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TechEthos game workshops: exploring public awareness & attitudes

TechEthos game workshops: exploring public awareness & attitudes
30 January 2023

Authored by: Greta Alliaj
Reviewed by: Cristina Paca

Article | 30 January 2022

What might a world in which technologies like the metaverse or neuroimaging have reached their full potential look like? What would it be like to live in a reality where such technologies are deployed in the most diverse fields, from education to justice, passing through marketing and entertainment? Imagine a world where neuroimaging is used to diagnose predispositions to certain neurological diseases. Such diagnosis could allow health professionals to better prevent a disease or decrease its impact on the patient, but at the same time, it could take a toll on people’s personal and professional relationships. Would you be in favour of implementing this technology?

Last autumn, hundreds of citizens across Europe took part in the Tech Ethos Science Cafés and engaged with scientists, innovators and civil society representatives to learn more about our three families of technologies. Now, the six science engagement organisations involved in the project are ready to build on this experience and invite all technology enthusiasts out there to play our new board game: The Tech Ethos game: Ages of Technology Impacts.

The TechEthos game is part of a longer workshop aimed at exploring the public’s attitudes towards Digital Extended Reality, Neurotechnologies and Climate Engineering. Participants will be invited to sit on their regional delegation to the Citizen World Council and decide what may be best for future generations and the Planet. Participants will forge the future starting from a set of technologies whose potential is not yet fully realised and each of their choices will have unforeseeable consequences.

Each round, players will be asked to discuss and agree on which technologies they would like to see further developed in their ideal future and, to do so, they will be confronted with the ethical implications of these choices. What will be the values and principles that will guide their decisions?

Throughout the different activities of the workshop, participants will have the opportunity to listen and learn from each other, express their concerns and defend their beliefs. This exchange will provide the project with insights into public attitudes and views on new and emerging technologies.

18 game workshops will take place in Austria, Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, Spain, and Sweden. To capture a broader and richer perspective, the six science engagement centres will collaborate with associations supporting groups whose access to such activities is often hindered by economic and social factors.

Developed in co-creation with science engagement and game experts, the TechEthos game is essential in capturing ethical and societal values. This moves us closer to the project’s end goal, producing ethics guidelines that considers such values in the earliest phases of technology design and development.

Would you be interested in taking part in the conversation and shaping your ideal world? Have a look at our game resource page, keep an eye on the activities of TechEthos science engagement centres and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

More about the game

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