How Belgium is Giving Citizens a Say on AI

Article by Graham Wetherall-Grujić: “A few weeks before the European Parliament’s final debate on the AI Act, 60 randomly selected members of the Belgian public convened in Brussels for a discussion of their own. The aim was not to debate a particular piece of legislation, but to help shape a European vision on the future of AI, drawing on the views, concerns, and ideas of the public. 

They were taking part in a citizens’ assembly on AI, held as part of Belgium’s presidency of the European Council. When Belgium assumed the presidency for six months beginning in January 2024, they announced they would be placing “special focus” on citizens’ participation. The citizen panel on AI is the largest of the scheduled participation projects. Over a total of three weekends, participants are deliberating on a range of topics including the impact of AI on work, education, and democracy. 

The assembly comes at a point in time with rising calls for more public inputs on the topic of AI. Some big tech firms have begun to respond with participation projects of their own. But this is the first time an EU institution has launched a consultation on the topic. The organisers hope it will pave the way for more to come…(More)”.