Annual EU Law and Policy Conference: EU Law in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
The technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (i.e. digitalisation, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, gene editing) set important challenges for policy makers and pre-existing legal frameworks globally, opening the prospect of cataclysmic changes in the not too distant future. These touch upon all aspects of social life, from issues of employment and intellectual creation, or more generally the creation of resources, to new modes of data and AI-driven governance, and will affect multiple environments reaching from the streets and hospitals to the battlefield.
The EU and EU law in particular have been increasingly engaging with the enforcement of existing legal rules and the design of new legal rules with the aim to mitigate the risks arising from these new technologies, or in order to promote the EU as an important global player in the new industrial age. This dual role of the EU as a global regulator of the risks engendered by these technologies and as the facilitator of the emergence of a new 'Industrial State' across the Continent has been particularly salient in recent years as the social and economic changes brought by these disruptive technologies unfolded.
For instance, the EU has been actively implementing and re-thinking its competition rules in order to mitigate the risks to competition that may result from the emergence of dominant digital platforms and global data mergers. The EU has taken important initiatives in digital consumer protection and in protecting European democracies from hate speech. It has empowered the data protection of its citizens, thus reshaping the way organisations approach data privacy, and serving as a model for other jurisdictions. Specific initiatives in the regulation of the relation between digital platforms and their suppliers, or in order to protect gig economy workers, illustrate the multi-faceted approach of the EU in ensuring fairness in the new economy. The protection of biodiversity and global environmental commons have also been significant drivers in the way the EU has regulated the new gene editing technologies. Other initiatives include that of the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament which proposed the establishment of a European Agency for robotics and … READ MORE