AI has enormous potential and is considered to be a key technology with geopolitical implications. AI also raises major concerns in relation to fundamental values and, in particular, the human–machine relationship. These in turn give rise to important legal questions, for example regarding the traceability of decisions (the 'black box' problem), discrimination, surveillance and manipulation. As a result, debates on how to regulate AI are currently being conducted in a number of international forums. Many of these debates are still in the very early stages.
However, a global set of AI rules appears to be emerging at five separate levels: (1) international law, (2) soft law, (3) national enactments with international effect, (4) self-binding corporate technical standards and rules, and (5) the normative power of the factual driven by advances in technology.
The report examines various regulatory approaches in the emerging global AI rules. To date, there has been less discussion in Switzerland than in other countries on the need for a new set of comprehensive AI rules. Switzerland can set its own legislative priorities for AI. At the same time, it is important to ensure that international rules facilitate Switzerland's access to global AI markets and supply chains.
Switzerland has particular research and development strengths, economic power, and credibility on international law issues. It is therefore well placed to help shape the emerging global AI regulatory framework in line with its interests and values. In order to benefit from its favourable position, Switzerland needs to be actively involved.
The Federal Council has therefore decided to take various measures. Exchanges with legal and technical experts, including external experts, are to be intensified; Switzerland's positions on AI are to be represented coherently in international bodies; and exchanges with Geneva-based international standards organisations are to be promoted. These measures will also reinforce Geneva's profile as an international hub for digital issues.
Switzerland seeks to contribute to an appropriate global set of AI rules that addresses the challenges and exploits the opportunities presented by AI
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