Friday, May 24, 2019

OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence and Some Brief Reflections





The OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence were adopted on 22 May 2019 by OECD member countries upon approval of the OECD Council Recommendation on Artificial Intelligence. The OECD AI Principles are the first such principles signed up to by governments. The OECD's website announcing adoption expressed the hope that the "OECD AI Principles set standards for AI that are practical and flexible enough to stand the test of time in a rapidly evolving field. They complement existing OECD standards in areas such as privacy, digital security risk management and responsible business conduct." 

It consists of five normative principles (what the OECD terms "values based") grounded in the sustainability enhancing notion of responsible stewardship that has gotten much traction in the business context among influence leaders in recent years (e.g., here).  They include
1--AI should benefit people and the planet by driving inclusive growth, sustainable development and well-being.
2--AI systems should be designed in a way that respects the rule of law, human rights, democratic values and diversity, and they should include appropriate safeguards – for example, enabling human intervention where necessary – to ensure a fair and just society.
3--There should be transparency and responsible disclosure around AI systems to ensure that people understand AI-based outcomes and can challenge them.
4--AI systems must function in a robust, secure and safe way throughout their life cycles and potential risks should be continually assessed and managed.
5--Organisations and individuals developing, deploying or operating AI systems should be held accountable for their proper functioning in line with the above principles.
These five principles are then directed to the state, as is the habit of the OECD regulatory form.  That direction is summarized in five recommended actions that states can take:
1--Facilitate public and private investment in research & development to spur innovation in trustworthy AI.
2--Foster accessible AI ecosystems with digital infrastructure and technologies and mechanisms to share data and knowledge.
3--Ensure a policy environment that will open the way to deployment of trustworthy AI systems.
4--Empower people with the skills for AI and support workers for a fair transition.
5--Co-operate across borders and sectors to progress on responsible stewardship of trustworthy AI.

The OECD Principles of Artificial Intelligence, along with brief reflections, follow. 



Thursday, May 23, 2019

十三届全国人大常委会贯彻落实《中共中央关于建立国务院向全国人大常委会报告国有资产管理情况制度的意见》五年规划(2018-2022) [The Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress implements the Five-Year Plan of the Opinions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Establishing the State Council's Report on the Management of State-Owned Assets to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (2018-2022)]]




While the American ruling classes (at least in the form of their electoral representatives and those who influence their choices and behaviors) continue to engage in entertainment for the masses (currently here, here, here, and here), the Chinese appear to be accelerating their efforts to rebuild their institutional structures for the New Era and to operationalize the policy choices they are making. Among the most important of these are those that enhance the important new era policy of strong divergence from Western methods, principles and operating methods in economic and political policy.

That project appears to continue to advance in the form of the 十三届全国人大常委会贯彻落实《中共中央关于建立国务院向全国人大常委会报告国有资产管理情况制度的意见》五年规划(2018-2022) [The Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress implements the Five-Year Plan of the Opinions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Establishing the State Council's Report on the Management of State-Owned Assets to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (2018-2022)]].

The implementation of the "opinions" is particularly interesting in the context of the US-China trade dispute, which itself is part of the larger Chinese strategy to remake global trade through the Belt and Road Initiative and its associated projects of yuan internationalization and control of raw material supply chains for its domestic production (that itself a crucial element of the development of productive forces at the heart of Chinese domestic policy since the 1980s).  A central element of these strategies, and one that serves as a singular source of friction between the American conception of global trade regimes and those of the Chinese, are state owned enterprises.  And no just the old Euro style (or worse the Soviet style SOEs), but rather the construction of aggregation of capital that can serve as the projections of state policy turned outward.

These "new era" enterprises are only now assuming a recognizable form, and one that continues the movement of the merger of politics and economics in the furtherance of global trade. To control the SOE is to control a large chunk of the apparatus through which the Chinese State will project its power outward. And it might challenge the control of the  State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) (cf., here). More importantly, as the document suggests, such control will also provide a means  controlling SOEs through the control of the data driven analytics through which they are to be managed.  That is a prize with respect to which many organs of the state apparatus will likely spend much time contemplating. In this context the role of the administrative apparatus, and especially the National People's Congress, will determine the collectives that will play a vital role in translating policy and the CPC line to an operational strategy. While the politics of that division of authority is lurking in the background, it is only noted here. Analysis to follow in due course.

The document appears below in the original 中文 and with a very rough English translation. It requires a little bit of work to navigate through the formal language and discursive tropes common to this sort of writing, but it is worth the effort.



Wednesday, May 22, 2019

《中国共产党党员教育管理工作条例》"Regulations on the Education and Management of Party Members of the Communist Party of China"



(Pix © Larry Catá Backer; Pottery Figures, Northern Wei Dynasty 386-534 AD unearthed Xi'an 1953>; Beijing National Museum)

On 21 May 2019, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China has issued the "Regulations on the Education and Management of Party Members of the Communist Party of China" 中国共产党党员教育管理工作条例》.  "The "Regulations" are guided by Xi Jinping's new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics, guided by the party's constitution, summed up the absorption of practical and innovative achievements, and regulate the content, methods, procedures, etc. of party members' education management, which is the basic of the education management of party members in the new era. follow." (《条例》以习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想为指导,以党章为根本遵循,总结吸收实践创新成果,对党员教育管理的内容、方式、程序等作出规范,是新时代党员教育管理工作的基本遵循。)

The Regulations provide a window on new thinking respecting the perfection of cadre formation and oversight and is well worth the read. Of particular note for foreign universities is Article 24, which provides:

对因私出国并在国外长期定居的党员,出国学习研究超过5年仍未返回的党员,一般予以停止党籍。停止党籍的决定由保留其组织关系的党组织按照有关规定作出。[For party members who have gone abroad for a long time and have settled abroad for a long time, party members who have studied abroad for more than five years have not stopped returning their party membership. The decision to stop the party membership is made by the party organization that retains its organizational relationship in accordance with relevant regulations.]

It will be interesting to see how these new regulations are meshed both with Social Credit systems and with the disciplinary protocols of the Supervision Law.  Also interesting is the emphasis on "new era" thinking. Though details are to be found elsewhere, it is clear that the focus is away from the normative verities of the past era of reform and opening up in favor of something new, much of which can be seen in the emergence of new policy applications especially in the last two years. The New Era is more clearly now taking normative form and its operationalization within the process of constructing and managing cadre educaiton and working styles stands at the center of the endeavor.

The regulations follow (中文) below with crude English translation.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Norwegian Ethics Information Committee Seeks Input on Methods to Improve Respect For Human Rights Through Supply Chain Transparency Mechanisms





This from Caroline D Ditlev-Simonsen, Professor BI Norwegian Business School:
Can a law requiring openness about supply chains improve human rights performance? If so, what should such a law contain? The Norwegian Ethics Information Committee<https://nettsteder.regjeringen.no/etikkinformasjonsutvalget/norwegian-ethics-information-committee/> would like to receive input from international experts about how to improve respect for human rights through mechanisms that promote transparency in supply chains. Please submit your thoughts to etikkinfo@bfd.dep.noetikkinfo@bfd.dep.no by May 31th.

The study promises to be interesting.  And more importantly, it suggests that the Norwegian state is interested in figuring out a perhaps novel approach to projecting its political power (and its values) through its apex enterprises and down their global production chains. To the extent that such an effort might align with Norwegian efforts undertaken through its SWF, the Pension Find Global, the effort might be quite influential (see, e.g., Sovereign Investing and Markets-Based Transnational Rule of Law Building: The Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund in Global Markets).

More information from the Norwegian Ethics Information Committee (including its mandate) follows.


Sunday, May 19, 2019

Palestras e minicursos do II Seminário Internacional em Direitos Humanos e Sociedade & IV Jornada de Produção Científica em Direitos Fundamentais e Estado , com o tema: Direitos Humanos, Estado Democrático de Direito e Direitos Sociais [Call for Participation: "II International Seminar on Human Rights and Society & IV Conference on Scientific Production in Fundamental Rights and the State" with the Theme "Human Rights, the Democratic State, and Social Rights" (Santa Caterina Brazil 19-20 Sept. 2019)]





I am delighted to pass along information about an exciting program being offered by my colleague Yduan de Oliveira May. He has helped organize a program at the Universidade do Extremo Sul Catarinense of prsentaitons and mini courses around the theme Direitos Humanos, Estado Democrático de Direito e Direitos Sociais [Human Rights, the Dmeocratic State, and Social Rights].

From their website:

Sejam todas e todos muito bem-vindos(as)! O II Seminário Internacional em Direitos Humanos e Sociedade & IV Jornada de Produção Científica em Direitos Fundamentais e Estado, será realizado nos dias 19 e 20 de setembro de 2019, na Universidade do Extremo Sul Catarinense, em Criciúma/SC, sendo organizado pelo Programa de Pós-graduação em Direito – Mestrado. A temática deste ano será "Direitos Humanos, Estado Democrático de Direito e Direitos Sociais". ¡O evento contará com minicursos, apresentações orais de trabalhos, além de palestras com conferencistas renomados ligados à temática do evento. Explore o nosso site e saiba mais! Contamos com a sua presença! [Welcome All! The II International Seminar on Human Rights and Society and IV Conference on Scientific Production in Fundamental Rights and State, will be held on September 19 and 20, 2019, at the Extremo Sul Catarinense University, in Criciúma / SC, organized by the Program of Postgraduate in Law - Master. This year's theme will be "Human Rights, Democratic State of Law and Social Rights". The event will have minicourses, oral presentations of works, as well as lectures with renowned speakers related to the theme of the event. Explore our website and learn more! We look forward to your presence!].
Participation information follows below in Portuguese and English.


Saturday, May 18, 2019

Now Available: Audio Recording of the Minorities in International Law Interest Group (MILIG) Session at the ASIL 2019 Annual Meeting--“Diverse Perspectives on the Impact of Colonialism in International Law ”

https://soundcloud.com/americansocietyofinternationallaw/diverse-perspectives-on-the?in=americansocietyofinternationallaw/sets/2019-asil-annual-meeting


I am happy to report that the audio recording of the Minorities in International Law Interest Group (MILIG)  session at the ASIL 2019 Annual Meeting  is now available.  Our session was entitled “Diverse Perspectives on the Impact of Colonialism in International Law. ” The Session audio may be accessed HERE.
Panel overview: This session, which will be conducted in the form of a panel, will explore diverse perspectives on the impact and effect of colonialism, and the norms created thereunder, in modern international law. Our first speaker will explore theoretical approaches to the interrelationships between colonialism and international law norms. Other speakers will explore the effect of colonial norms on the development of the modern western notion of the rule of law; the colonial experience and its effect on disputes involving sovereignty (Chagos Archipelago dispute); the colonial experience and the development of commercial law in Africa; and the effect of the colonial experience on Latin American perceptions of development and international law.


More about the Session HERE.

PPTs of my presentation HERE.


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Just Published: "Next Generation Law: Data-Driven Governance and Accountability Based Regulatory Systems in the West, and Social Credit Regimes in China," Law &: Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal 28(1):123-172 (2018)



I am delighted to announce the publication of  "Next Generation Law: Data-Driven Governance and Accountability Based Regulatory Systems in the West, and Social Credit Regimes in China," Law &: Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal 28(1): 123-172 (2018).
In the contemporary world, compliance systems and policing are quickly replacing law and the traditional methods of enforcement (either organic or positive law) as the framework through which collectives (the state, the corporation, and religion, to name the most well-known actors) govern. It shifts the function of law from methods of command and obedience to systems of compliance and incentive. Most of the elements of social credit have already been developed in the West. But the unification of the various elements,and their seamless operation would be a great innovation. For Chinese theory, that innovation would complement the move toward transformation in politics, economics, and social organization announced in the CPC 19th Congress in the course of the Report delivered by Xi Jinping. As a system still very much in development social credit and ratings systems encounters a number of technical challenges.(Ibid., pp. 171).

The Abstract and Introduction follow below. The pre-publication draft can be accessed here.  PPTs of a recent presentation of the article HERE. Looking forward to further conversation. 

From the Front Lines of the Battlefields of Legal Development at the American Law Institute (ALI): Letter From 23 State Attorneys General Urging Rejection of the Proposed Restatement of Consumer Contracts





The American Law Institute, over the course of its long history, has always served as an important site for the disciplining of law in the United States in two broad senses. First ALI has sought to bring order and accessibility to the increasingly large and complex body of judicial decisions in common law regimes.  But it has also been instrumental in seeking to bring order to the increasingly important role of courts as the source of statutory interpretation (and operationalization through litigation). These efforts at meaningfulness have in turn contributed to "progress" in American law (understood beyond its ideological overtones as providing a comprehensive resource of general consensus for judges and others seeking to understand and apply the law).

Much of the work of the ALI is technical and quite respectful of the role of the courts (and of the legislatures in driving law).  They bring clarity and order, and they sometimes suggest the consequences of trajectories in legal development.  That they are well positioned for this role is without question.  Its members are among the most elite users and producers of the object of the ALI's attentions--leading judges, lawyers and academics are as responsible for the development of law (and the meaningfulness of statutes) who collectively drive the law in the course of undertaking their respective roles

That driving is sometimes as innocuous as gathering up all of the strands of interpretation and approaches providing judges, lawyers and lawmakers with much material that can be persuasive. And the ALI Restatements have tended to be quite persuasive for judges, lawyers and law makers over the years. But the ALI sometimes drives law as well. It has done so in a variety of its projects throughout its history. Sometimes the ALI takes principled stances with respect to elements of law that is viewed as obsolete or in need of change. Among the most famous early examples was the fight about sex crimes in the 1950s (see, e.g., Exposing the Perversions of Toleration: The Decriminalization of Private Sexual Conduct, the Model Penal Code, and the Oxymoron of Liberal Toleration). That stance has taken a more sustained controversial stance in recent years as some of its reporters at times appear to use their "restatement" projects as a means of stamping the law with their vision of the good, the just, and the "ought to be." That has been evident in the years long battle over the revision of certain definitions and application of a criminal law of sexual assault, a process that has become acrimonious at times (here, here, here, here, here, here).

This year controversy of this sort has come to a corner of the ALI which does not see this sort of controversy very often--the field of contracts, and more specifically the Restatement of Consumer Contracts. (criticized by Gregory Klaas in a 2019 article here) More specifically, 23 State Attorneys General have circulated a letter on the eve of the annual meeting of the ALI urging all members of the American Law Institute to reject the proposed Restatement of Consumer Contracts, to be voted on during the American Law Institute’s annual meeting on May 21, 2019 (Please click this link).

This post includes that letter.  It is worth reading not only for the arguments it makes about choices in the interpretation of an emerging field, but also for what it says about the power of reporters in the service of a vision of the law that is yet to be. The implications for the development of the law and for the way in which law becomes accessible to those for whose benefit it has been developed is also worth considering.

UPDATE 20 May 2019:  Please click this link to read an updated version of the letter which now includes 24 State Attorneys General.


Monday, May 13, 2019

CPE Working Group on Empire: A Critical Gloss on Xi Jinping, <齐心开创共建“一带一路”美好未来> ["Working Together to Deliver a Brighter Future For Belt and Road Cooperation"] In the Shadow of the U.S.-China Trade Talks




王之涣 《登鹳雀楼
白日依山尽,
黄河入海流。
欲穷千里目,
更上一层楼。
On The Stork Tower
By Wang Zhihuan
The sun beyond the mountains glows;
The Yellow River seawards flows.
You can enjoy a grander sight,
By climbing to a greater height.

WGE is examining the proceedings at the 2nd BRI Conference recently concluded in Beijing.  More specifically WGE is considering the utility of Xi Jinping's remarks at that event as a source for an understanding of the Chinese conceptualization of its global trade regimes, and specifically the principles and objectives and shape and drive it. The analysis is relevant to a consideration of the role of Chinese -US bilateral trade talks, by putting them in a broader and more appropriate context (see, here, here, here, and here). 

This post includes WGE's critical reading of the key remarks that are at the center of this phase of the analysis: Xi Jinping's 齐心开创共建“一带一路”美好未来; ["Working Together to Deliver a Brighter Future For Belt and Road Cooperation"] (English and Chinese versions below). 


CPE Working Group on Empire: A Brief Introduction to Xi Jinping's Speech <齐心开创共建“一带一路”美好未来> ["Working Together to Deliver a Brighter Future For Belt and Road Cooperation"]-- U.S.-China Trade Talks, Encircling the US, and the BRI

(Pix © Larry Catá Backer; Dado, Le Cycliste (1955, Centre Pompidou))

The Working Group on Empire (WGE) of the Coalition for Peace and Ethics looks to  to study and theorize the construction of systems of management and control of human activities, that is of empire in the 21st century. In this series of posts we consider the re-construction of Empire shorn of its old glosses (which elites everywhere have been taught to conflate with the form and thus to amalgamate a normative judgment about technique with an evaluation of the form of empire) in the context of the now heated contest for the control of the structures of global economic trade within which these new forms of empire might be developed. 

The specific focus is on the construction of new global trade regimes.  In that context, WGE has been considering the bilateral trade talks between the United States and China in the larger context of Chinese (and American) ambitions to drive the structures and directions of global trade in ways that put them at the center (or in the Chinese English language vernacular--as the core) of dependent amalgamations of actors around which trade regimes may be built and directed (see here).

To that end WGE is examining the proceedings at the 2nd BRI Conference recently concluded in Beijing.  More specifically WGE is considering the utility of Xi Jinping's remarks at that event as a source for an understanding of the Chinese conceptualization of its global trade regimes, and specifically the principles and objectives and shape and drive it.


(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2019)


This post introduces the reader to the key remarks that are at the center of this phase of the analysis: Xi Jinping's 齐心开创共建“一带一路”美好未来; ["Working Together to Deliver a Brighter Future For Belt and Road Cooperation"] (English and Chinese versions below), along with WGE's Introduction. This introduction does not present an in-depth analysis of Xi Jinping’s Speech at the Second Belt and Road Forum (that is coming in the next post), but a gloss about what the speech might point at in the broader context of the USA’s reaction to the One Belt One Road. The speech may be read and analyzed on at least three different levels, but that kind of analysis would have the short-coming to further isolate discussion of the BRI from the real-world contexts where the Belt and Road already exists. Empire may be theorized in the academia, but its construction takes place in the real world.