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Artificial Intelligence 101: Introduction and International Legal Framework


Much is spoken about the wonderful potential that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has and how it can benefit our lives. However, most of the population is not sufficiently informed and educated in this area to allow them to consciously weigh the pros and cons this technology already brings in their lives. Nowadays, we see how users, tired of endless legal notices and privacy policies, hand over their personal data without knowing who is going to use them and how. What is the result? A lack of trust in AI systems and a fear of the unknown.

These series of Artificial Intelligence 101 articles intend to give the reader a general picture of the current regulatory framework (or lack thereof) around this technology as well as to put the focus on its potential for both helping society and jeopardizing it and, in the latter case, specifically focusing on its discrimination and privacy-related risks.

Artificial Intelligence 101 is mainly divided into ten chapters, including:

  • Introduction and International Legal Framework (the present article);

  • Let’s Talk About Bias (part I and II);

  • Addressing Privacy;

  • Risks on AI Implementation (part I and II);

  • What Can Be Done To Mitigate Risks? (part I and II);

  • A Special Mention to Accountability;

  • The Best of AI—Projects With Positive Social Impact.

Since the 1950’s when Alan Turing, considered one of the fathers of computational science, introduced the first preliminary concepts of AI with his Turing Test—a test that analyzed a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent human-like behaviour—and John McCarthy, a prominent mathematician and computer scientist, introduced the term AI, until today, there have been many definitions of AI. Their variants depend on the approach and territory from which we analyze this concept, but a general definition could be the Merriam Webster’s: AI is “a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers” and/or “the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior”—for more definitions please check the United States (U.S.) National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act of 2020 or the European Union (EU) Artificial Intelligence Act of 2021.

All definitions share similarities and the same essence, but they are not homogeneous and also show the lack of consensus and the need to unify the concepts when dealing with AI, especially considering that AI does not care about national boundaries and is reaching almost all corners of the earth.

Bareham, J. (2019). [China vs. USA brain connectivity][Illustration]. The Verge.