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This chapter introduces three cross-cutting themes that illustrate the relationship between artificial intelligence and international economic law (IEL): disruption, regulation, and reconfiguration. We explore the theme of disruption along the trifecta of AI-related technological, economic, and legal change. In this context, the impact of AI triggers political and economic pressures, as evidenced by intensive lobbying and engagement in different governance venues for and against various regulatory choices, including what will be regulated, how to regulate it, and whom should be regulated. Along these lines, we assess the extent to which IEL has already been reconfigured and examine the need for further reconfiguration. We conclude this introduction chapter by bringing the contributions we assembled in this volume into conversation with one another and identify topics that warrant further research. Taken as a whole, this book portrays the interaction between AI and IEL. We have collectively explored and evaluated the impact of AI disruption, the need for AI regulation, and directions for IEL reconfiguration.
This chapter uses the case of CAV standards to explore how this “disruptive innovation” may alter the boundaries of international trade agreements. Amid the transition to a driverless future, the transformative nature of disruptive innovation renders the interpretation and application of trade rules challenging. The chapter focuses on two issues – the goods/services boundaries, and the public/private sector boundaries. Considering the data-driven business models and the integrated technical features, CAV-related safety standards may disrupt the scope of coverage of the TBT Agreement. As CAVs evolve from level 0 to level 5, how should CAV standards be reclassified? In addition, for levels 1–4, in which humans and CAVs are co-drivers, the industry-led voluntary standards provide a baseline for judges in the evaluation of appropriate levels and evidence of CAV safety prior to deployment, which may become a strong incentive for CAV manufacturers to comply with “guidance,” “best practice,” or “codes of conduct.” To what extent should a WTO tribunal assume the responsibility of members with regard to CAV safety standards prepared and published by a private entity? The development of disruptive innovation involves changes in governance frameworks and calls for new governance approaches that break the boundaries of existing trade disciplines.
Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are transforming economies, societies, and geopolitics. Enabled by the exponential increase of data that is collected, transmitted, and processed transnationally, these changes have important implications for international economic law (IEL). This volume examines the dynamic interplay between AI and IEL by addressing an array of critical new questions, including: How to conceptualize, categorize, and analyze AI for purposes of IEL? How is AI affecting established concepts and rubrics of IEL? Is there a need to reconfigure IEL, and if so, how? Contributors also respond to other cross-cutting issues, including digital inequality, data protection, algorithms and ethics, the regulation of AI-use cases (autonomous vehicles), and systemic shifts in e-commerce (digital trade) and industrial production (fourth industrial revolution). This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.