Catelijne Muller gives evidence at the Dutch Parliamentary Committee on the Digital Future

On September 30th, ALLAI was invited to give evidence at the Dutch Parliamentary Committee on the Digital Future. Catelijne Muller represented ALLAI during a one our session with Dutch Parliamentarians Kathalijne Buitenweg (GroenLinks), Chris van Dam (CDA), Jan Middendorp (VVD) and Danai van Weerdenburg (PVV).

The committee focuses on the following main question: how can the House of Representatives strengthen the knowledge position in the field of digitization (information law) and in which way can the House get a better grip on desired and undesirable developments related to digitization (controlling and legislative task)?

To answer the main question, three sub-questions have been prepared:

  • Which themes in the field of digitization – both in terms of technological development and their impact on social values ​​- require attention from the House in the near future and why?
  • What lessons can be learned from the way in which the House is currently looking at digitization issues and what can be learned from other countries and other government layers to better tackle this? Which method or assessment framework (s) are used for this?
  • What is needed – in terms of content, organization and institution – to increase the House’s knowledge position with regard to digital developments and what instruments does the House have to get a better grip on those developments?

Among the many questions, one particular question kept coming up: “Should we install an AI watchdog?”

Catelijne responded that because of the fact that AI has such a broad and deep impact on all parts of our society, such a watchdog should have a broad mandate and be very well equipped (both financially as well as in terms of human resources) to be able to execute its tasks. She also warned for the possible slackening effect of installing a watchdog, whereas people might let down their guard and rely on that one institution to take care of all AI issues. She also questioned the exact role of such a watchdog, would it be “checking” AI systems, prior to deployment, during use, only if a complaint or issue arises? Would organizations be obligated to inform the watchdog of any use of AI?

If an AI institution of some form were to be installed, she did however openly express her interest to be in charge of such an institution, stating that it should be more than just a watchdog, but should have a broad agenda that includes research, awareness raising, education etc. in various fields such as ethics, the law, economics, psychology and so on.

The recording of the hearing can be watched here (as from -1:50:00)

The ALLAI Position Paper for this hearing can be found here (in Dutch)

The hearing report can be downloaded here