AI and International Regulation

in Florian Martin-Bariteau & Teresa Scassa, eds., Artificial Intelligence and the Law in Canada (Toronto: LexisNexis Canada, 2021)

24 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2020 Last revised: 7 Mar 2022

See all articles by Michael A. Geist

Michael A. Geist

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Date Written: February 1, 2021


Mounting concerns about the potential for unethical uses, the incorporation of bias, and the risks associated with an unregulated artificial intelligence (AI) environment have led to growing support for common policies, principles, and regulation. Achieving consensus on both the governance of AI and the substance of potential policies or principles remains elusive, however. Many countries have introduced AI strategies and policies, but their approach often differs, ranging from market-led, self-regulated models to government-led initiatives featuring intensive market intervention. This chapter brings the challenge of a global AI regulatory consensus into sharp relief by surveying approaches found around the world. It begins with a review of the Canadian approach to date. While Canada has been actively engaged in AI policy development and demonstrated a clear commitment to prioritizing both the economic opportunities offered by AI and the need for an appropriate forward-looking policy response, the Canadian AI policy model remains at best a work-in-progress. The chapter continues by examining the three most notable approaches: the less prescriptive, market-led approach in the United States, the government-led system in the People’s Republic of China, and the hybrid approach that seeks to combine regulation and self-regulatory principles in the European Union. The chapter represents a spotlight of policy initiatives at a moment in time, but the trends are unmistakable, pointing to a broad spectrum of approaches that will be difficult to reconcile if the goal is to develop binding, enforceable rules that extend beyond high-level principles with little legal weight.

Keywords: AI; Canada; european union; united states; China; international regulation

Suggested Citation

Geist, Michael A., AI and International Regulation (February 1, 2021). in Florian Martin-Bariteau & Teresa Scassa, eds., Artificial Intelligence and the Law in Canada (Toronto: LexisNexis Canada, 2021), Available at SSRN:

Michael A. Geist (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
613-562-5800 x3319 (Phone)
613-562-5124 (Fax)

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