Webinar: Can Procurement Be Used to Effectively Regulate AI?


The University of Bristol Law School and George Washington University Law School are co-organising this free 90-minute (14.00-15.30) webinar to explore the extent to which public procurement rules can regulate the adoption and use of AI by the public sector.

Date: 30th May, 2023

Co-organised by the University of Bristol Law School and George Washington University Law School.

Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) regulation and governance is a global challenge that is starting to generate different responses in the EU, US, and other jurisdictions. Such responses are, however, rather tentative and politically contested. A full regulatory system will take time to crystallise and be fully operational. In the meantime, despite this regulatory gap, the public sector is quickly adopting AI solutions for a wide range of activities and public services.

This process of accelerated AI adoption by the public sector places procurement as the (involuntary) gatekeeper, tasked with ‘AI regulation by contract’, at least for now. The procurement function is expected to design tender procedures and contracts capable of attaining goals of AI regulation (such as trustworthiness, explainability, or compliance with data protection and human and fundamental rights) that are so far eluding more general regulation.

This webinar will provide an opportunity to take a hard look at the likely effectiveness of AI regulation by contract through procurement and its implications for the commercialisation of public governance, focusing on key issues such as:

  • The interaction between tender design, technical standards, and negotiations.
  • The challenges of designing, monitoring, and enforcing contractual clauses capable of delivering effective ‘regulation by contract’ in the AI space.
  • The tension between the commercial value of tailored contractual design and the regulatory value of default clauses and standard terms.
  • The role of procurement disputes and litigation in shaping AI regulation by contract.
  • The alternative regulatory option of establishing mandatory prior approval by an independent regulator of projects involving AI adoption by the public sector.

This webinar will be of interest to those working on or researching the digitalisation of the public sector and AI regulation in general, as the discussion around procurement gatekeeping mirrors the main issues arising from broader trends.

I will have the great opportunity of discussing my research with Aris Georgopoulos (Nottingham), Scott Simpson (Digital Transformation Lead at U.S. Department of Homeland Security), and Liz Chirico (Acquisition Innovation Lead at Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army). Jessica Tillipman (GW Law) will moderate the discussion and Q&A.

Registration: https://law-gwu-edu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_w_V9s_liSiKrLX9N-krrWQ.

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