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Op-Ed: A vision for the AI Office - Rethinking digital governance in the EU

Spearheading the implementation of the world’s first comprehensive legislation on Artificial Intelligence, the AI Office requires robust leadership and an innovative structure that mirrors the dynamism of AI, write Philipp Hacker, Sebastian Hallensleben, and myself in an op-ed for Euractiv.

In Brussels and beyond, many people are concerned about the slow build-up of the AI Office. On 11 April and according to Rule 138 (link), Axel Voss, Svenja Hahn, and Kim van Sparrentak submitted priority questions to the European Commission, asking for more transparency with regard to the selection procedure for as well as the profile of the – to be designated - director of the AI Office (link). Yet, even two weeks after the deadline (9 May) has passed, the parliamentarians have still not received a reply.

To fill this void and to trigger a public discussion, I teamed up with two leading AI governance experts: Philipp Hacker and Sebastian Hallensleben. Together, we consulted civil society, academics and companies and put on paper a vision for the AI Office with concrete actions that we would recommend for the European Commission to consider. We believe that the AI Office has huge potential and could - over time - even develop into a powerful & independent 'Digital Implementation & Enforcement Agency'. Becoming an EU success story will however require that the usual modus operandi of the EU’s executive arm is changed significantly.

In our piece, we single out in particular the following four areas: 1️⃣ strong leadership combined with a comprehensive structure, 2️⃣ a hiring process that targets the best AI talents, 3️⃣ the introduction of agile work methods, and 4️⃣ more transparency and accessibility.

Have a look at our Euractiv op-ed and tell us what you think is needed for an effective governance and enforcement of the AIAct.

Based on that op-ed, Axel Voss and I have put together the factsheet below that illustrates what we and our allies in the European Parliament will push for over the next weeks. However, the actual reason for this post is another call to action for you! Develop your own ideas, trigger a public debate, and engage with the EU Institutions. Please help us to make sure that the AI Office is established in the most transparent and effective way, avoiding a situation where it faces a mission impossible from the start.


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