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Chris Chapman, IIC President

Shedding light

In October the IIC held its 54th International Regulators Forum and Annual Conference in Cologne, hosted by one of our wonderful members, BNetzA, the German regulator.  These events have always been excellent but these were right up there with the best. Through an agile use of breakout sessions, we were able to incorporate debates on all of the current ‘hot policy’ issues. One of these, of course is AI, the subject of intense debate and speculation, not all of it especially well-informed. Helping us shed light on the subject was our more than well-informed  panel, including the European Parliament’s co-rapporteur for the EU’s AI Act, Dragoş Tudorache: very impressive and a brilliant communicator. Reflecting on the different regulatory approaches being taken around the world, he held the very interesting view that the best outcome would ultimately be a coming together of the European approach to consumer protection with the more innovation-led thrust of US policy.

So in this issue of Intermedia we’re shedding still more light on the subject of AI, beginning with a summary of the various policy and regulatory regimes around the world and followed by a forensic analysis of the competition issues by Tim Cowen, Sophia Yakhno and Ned Russell. How, they ask, can we prevent the biggest models with access to the largest databases from placing themselves in the ‘winner-takes-most’ position? Finally, a fascinating paper looking at the risks involved in attempting to make AI dialogue models human-like is summarised by our editor, Russell Seekins. Anthropomorphism is desirable for adoption and engagement but, it seems, less so for humans. Research like this has all kinds of implications for how we want AI to evolve in the future.

The Annual Conference finished with the appointment of six new directors at the AGM – a massive reinvigoration of the IIC board. I’m delighted to welcome to the board Nina Cummins, Emily Davidson, Angela Flannery, Allyson Leacock OR, Philip Marnick and Tebogo Mmoshe.

It was also my last AGM as president of the IIC, a role I have enjoyed immensely over the last nearly eight years. My thanks to all our members for their tremendous support and, of course, to the outstanding team at the IIC, led by DG Lynn Robinson. I’m not sure if you’ve seen the last of me but in any event I will be focusing on my fascinating but challenging role as a director of ICANN. (My comments above are, as always, made entirely in my role as president of the IIC!)

Chris Chapman

Chris Chapman is president of the IIC and a director of ICANN.