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The JMC contributes to the regulatory debate on AI: Prof. Mantelero at the European Parliament and INTERPOL, 24-25 October 2023

On 24 and 25 October, Prof. Mantelero participated in two different events that had in common the crucial role effective solutions have in strengthening the legal framework of our digital societies.

At the European Parliament, with Gianclaudio Malgieri and Vincenzo Tiani, he emphasised the importance of introducing a Fundamental Rights Impact Assessment in the AI Act. At the INTERPOL (International Organisations Workshop on Data Protection 2023), he dealt with human rights risk assessment in data-driven AI solutions.

The ‘how to’ is precisely the common element of these two different events.

In many societies, there is a general consensus on the importance of protecting human rights in relation to the evolution of digital technologies, including data protection with its role as an enabling right. International organisations, the public sector and business widely embrace this perspective, but it is the implementation that fails.

It is like having a general agreement about the cake we want to eat, but only a vague idea about the ingredients. But the ingredients are what will decide the taste and quality of the cake.

Law scholars and lawmakers often suffer from an ‘elitist’ approach: they focus on principles, while the rest is minutiae to be left to the practitioners. Unfortunately, these technicalities make the difference in real world. General principles with little detail on their implementation, on the one hand, leave room for those who want to weaken them and, on the other, create uncertainty among those who want to implement them.

For these reasons, it is crucial that legal scholars and lawmakers start digging into human rights  implementation in digital society, not considering it a task only for professionals, standardisation bodies or consultants.

Human rights methodology should no longer be neglected. It must become part of the legal process and debate: the AI Act and all similar initiatives should define a clear roadmap for their effective methodological implementation.

This would make it possible to adequately address the big ‘how to’ question common to many actors.