Czech Republic: Government Adopts National Artificial Intelligence Strategy

(June 5, 2019) On May 6, 2019, the Czech government adopted its National Artificial Intelligence [AI] Strategy. (Press Release, Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, The Czech Republic Is Among the Elite in Presenting a Strategy for the Development of Artificial Intelligence (May 6, 2019).) According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the role of the Strategy is to pivot the Czech Republic into the European “superhub for artificial intelligence.” (Id.) The National Artificial Intelligence Strategy is integrated into the Government Innovation Strategy and Digital Czech Republic Program. (Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, National Artificial Intelligence Strategy of the Czech Republic, intro p. 1 (May 2019).) The National AI Strategy outlines the following seven priority areas in the field of artificial intelligence:

  • Promoting research and development activities
  • Financing research and development, investment support, and development of the AI ecosystem in the Czech Republic
  • Creating public service infrastructure and providing access to data for AI development
  • Upgrading human capital and the educational system in order to meet the demands of AI
  • Measuring the impact of AI on labor systems and labor markets
  • Upgrading the legal framework of the Czech Republic to address consumer protection and safety; intellectual property protection; cybersecurity; and data protection and management
  • Engaging in international cooperation in the field of AI, mainly with the European Union (EU) and other regional bodies. (Id. at 8–9.)

While the National Strategy is not a legal document, it aims to follow EU law’s strategic goals of creating ethical guidelines for AI development and an “innovation-friendly legal framework,” as well as adopt new legislation in line with overall European approach to “human-centric AI.” (Id. at 34.) The following areas of legislation will undergo substantial changes in the process of implementing the National AI strategy:

Consumer Protection and Safety

The National AI Strategy envisages assessing current Czech legislation with the view to identify the legal ramifications of AI use, especially in the areas of damage liability for operating autonomous, collaborative, and self-learning systems. The introduction of compulsory liability insurance could be considered. (Id.)

Intellectual Property Protection

The National AI Strategy calls for public consultation on the issues concerning the protection of intellectual property rights for AI-created property and recommendations for the ethical development and utilization of artificial intelligence. (Id.)

Data Management and Protection, and Cybersecurity

In the area of data management and protection, the National AI Strategy calls for the development of legislation to eliminate barriers to accessing the data necessary for AI development. These measures could include drafting laws similar to those based on data trust models. Additionally, the government plans “an analysis of GDPR [the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation] in relation to AI.” (Id.)

In addition, the National AI Strategy envisages establishing national standards for and certification of AI-product cybersecurity. (Id. at 35.)

Privacy Protection

The National AI Strategy plans for the creation of a legal framework for protection of privacy and personality in the process of creating “digital copies of individuals.” (Id.)

Administration of Justice

The National AI Strategy calls for establishing automated court proceedings, with application of speech-to-text transcription, as well as the “involvement of artificial intelligence elements in the justice anonymizer.” (Id.)

The government plans to implement the National AI Strategy in three stages—a short-term stage (until 2021) focusing on analyzing the AI legal and regulatory framework; a medium-term stage focusing on establishing ethical guidelines for AI development and eliminating the legal and regulatory barriers to this development; and a long-term stage (until 2035) focusing on introducing a flexible legal system incorporating innovative case law. (Id. at 34–36.)

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