Ukraine has taken a step towards regulating the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence (AI) by unveiling a comprehensive roadmap. The roadmap is designed to provide a clear framework for AI development, business growth, and the protection of human rights to prepare for future requirements before adopting any laws.
According to the roadmap published on 7th October 2023, by Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation, the roadmap revealed that it is designed to educate citizens on protecting themselves from AI risks while helping businesses with a law similar to the European Union’s AI Act. The roadmap is intended to address the needs and concerns of various stakeholders within the AI ecosystem.
The roadmap by Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation is based on a bottom-up approach that suggests moving from less to more and providing businesses with tools to prepare for future requirements before adopting any laws. The roadmap sets a preliminary period to allow the companies to adapt to potential rules in the next two to three years. Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhalio Fedorov said, “It is impossible to talk about a digital state if we do not form a progressive policy in the direction of artificial intelligence and an agenda for the world.” Fedorov added, “Already today, AI is actively used in Ukraine in various directions. AI is especially crucial for military technology in Ukraine’s ongoing war with Russia, helping track enemy personnel and equipment and shoot down missiles”.
Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation Oleksandr Borniakov noted, “We plan to create a culture of business self-regulation in several ways. In particular, by signing voluntary codes of conduct that will testify to companies’ ethical use of AI. Another tool is a White Paper that will familiarise businesses with the approach, timing and stages of regulatory implementation”, According to the roadmap, the draft of the Ukrainian AI legislation is expected in 2024, but not until Europe does.
The roadmap comprises two phases to ensure a gradual and well-informed transition into AI regulation. The first phase in the roadmap focuses on providing businesses with essential tools and guidance to prepare for future AI regulation.
The first phase of Ukraine’s AI regulation roadmap, unveiled by the Ministry of Digital Transformation, lays the groundwork for a progressive and responsible approach to artificial intelligence. This phase emphasises the importance of human rights impact assessment, voluntary codes of conduct, and the dissemination of comprehensive guidance to businesses. The first phase includes:
- Assessing the impact of human rights. This approach aims to identify potential risks and challenges beforehand to ensure that the rights and dignity of individuals are safeguarded throughout AI development and deployment.
- Voluntary codes of conduct. Businesses are encouraged to voluntarily adopt codes of conduct that align with ethical AI principles. The codes of conduct will set standards for responsible AI development and usage, fostering a culture of ethical AI principles amongst Ukrainian companies.
- Recommendations and White Book. Publication of recommendations and a White Book will be included in the roadmap to serve as business references, offering insights into immediate actions and future expectations related to AI regulation within the country.
Aligning with European standards, this roadmap phase involves adopting a comprehensive AI law similar to the European AI Act. This phase is expected to bring Ukraine in line with the European Union (EU) legal regimes concerning AI. Objectives of this phase include:
- Identical legal regimes with the EU. Adopting legislation similar to the European AI Act and creating a parallel legal regime with the EU in AI.
- Attracting investments. Harmonising Ukraine’s AI regulation with EU standards is anticipated to enhance the country’s attractiveness to international investors. A similar legal framework with the EU will instil confidence in Ukrainian AI sector investors.
The unveiling of Ukraine’s AI regulation roadmap shows how committed the country is towards AI regulation and becoming a global AI powerhouse. According to reports, the Ministry of Digital Transformation partnered with the IT Ukraine Association and the TopLead agency to create the first Ukrainian IT companies and products catalogue. This initiative showcases the capabilities of Ukrainian tech firms and serves as a testament to the country’s dedication to fostering a vibrant and competitive tech ecosystem.
The rate and speed at which AI technology’s capabilities are evolving has created increased urgency to understand and support the advantages of AI. In September 2023, at the Group of 20 (G20) summit, AI was the centre of discussion, where leaders discussed coming up with an innovative approach to cultivating an AI environment. Experts at Bitcoin Smarter Official mentioned that the EU AI Act passed the European Parliament in June 2023. The act would prohibit certain types of AI services and products while placing or limiting restrictions on others. The press release from the European Parliament revealed that the rules aim to promote the uptake of AI while ensuring that the AI system does not pose harm to the people.
The move made by Ukraine in the AI regulation roadmap shows how determined Ukraine is to its people. Adopting AI legislation similar to European Union standards indicates the nation is committed to attracting global investment and elevating its status in the International AI community. Ukraine’s roadmap underscores its commitment to responsible and forward-thinking AI development.
Hannah Parker is a technology writer specialising in artificial intelligence regulations and digital policy developments.