Enabling Responsible U.S. Leadership on Global AI Regulation

Authors: Adrien Abecassis, Dipayan Ghosh, Jack Loveridge, & Elina Noor


Algorithmic governance concerns are critical for US foreign policy in the 21st century as they relate intimately to the relationship between governments and their citizens – the very fabric of the world’s societies. The United States should strategically invest resources into the principal multilateral forums in which digital technology regulation is currently under discussion. In partnership with like-minded governments and international organizations, the Biden-Harris Administration should set clear priorities championing a collective digital rights agenda that considers the impact of commercial algorithms and algorithmic decision-making on both American citizens and technology consumers around the world.

These investments would build substantially upon initial forays into national AI regulatory policy advanced by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) established by Congress in August 2018 and the Executive Order on Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence issued in January 2019. Both policy moves featured broad approaches focused on national security and competitiveness, without seriously engaging the complex and context-specific problems of international governance that must be squarely addressed if the United States is to develop a coherent approach to AI regulation.

We suggest the federal government pay special attention to impacts on people living in regions outside the geographic focus of the most prominent regulatory deliberations today – which occur almost exclusively in Washington and the developed world. Such an inclusive, global approach to digital policymaking will increase the potential for the United States to bring the world along in efforts to develop meaningful, consumer-first internet policy that addresses the economic and social factors driving digital disparities. At a time when the risk of a global “splinternet” increasingly looms, this clarified focus will help establish effective rules toward which jurisdictions around the world can converge under U.S. leadership.

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About the Authors

Adrien Abecassis is a career diplomat who served as a European Advisor to the President of France overseeing French policies on bilateral European affairs across the government, and as a Senior Political Advisor, providing briefs to the President and coordinating efforts on policy planning. He is currently the Director of Development and Research for the Paris Forum and was a fellow of Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, 2020-21.

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Dipayan Ghosh is the co-director of the Digital Platforms & Democracy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School and lecturer at Harvard Law School. He is the author of Terms of Disservice. Dipayan previously was a technology and economic policy advisor in the Obama White House, serving in the Office of Science & Technology Policy and the National Economic Council. He later served as privacy & public policy advisor at Facebook, where he led strategic efforts to address privacy and security.

Jack Loveridge is a Senior Policy Advisor to the Paris Peace Forum and a historian of science and technology in the context of global development. He is also a research associate at Koç University’s Center for Globalization, Peace, and Democratic Governance (GLODEM) in Istanbul, Turkey. Originally from El Paso, Texas on the U.S.-Mexico border, he earned his doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin and his M.Phil. in International Development from Oxford University. He was a Fulbright-Nehru Fellow to India, 2014-15.

Elina Noor is Director, Political-Security Affairs and Deputy Director, Washington, D.C. Office at the Asia Society Policy Institute. A native of Malaysia, Elina’s work focuses on the intersection of global governance and technology, preventing/countering violent extremism, and security dynamics in Southeast Asia. Elina sits on the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs’ roster of experts, supporting efforts to build member states’ cyber-related capacity. She also served on the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace.