LegisTech: Artificial Intelligence in Parliaments - Insights applied to Legislative Operations
How it was
‘LegisTech: AI in Parliaments’, orchestrated by Bússola Tech on July 6th, 2023, served as an important forum for discussion and engagement on the complex interface between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and today’s legislative processes. As technology increasingly permeates our society, the implications for Parliaments are profound and multifaceted. From streamlining operations to confronting new ethical dilemmas, AI is simultaneously a tool and a challenge for modern parliaments.
Bússola Tech is a global organisation dedicated to promoting institutional modernisation and digital transformation within the legislative ecosystem. Through parliamentary diplomacy and cooperation, Bússola Tech acts to strengthen the channels to share technical expertise amongst legislative institutions.
This conference sought to dissect these issues in depth, bringing together a diverse range of parliamentary institutions for robust debate and idea exchange. This report provides a comprehensive analysis of the conference, connecting the multiple discussion threads and highlighting the diverse perspectives offered by the participant institutions.
The discussions revolved around five central themes: “AI-Powered Modernization: Helping to enhance the Resilience of the Legislative Institutions”, “Regulation and Governance of Artificial Intelligence in Parliaments,” “Data Governance in Parliaments,” “Artificial Intelligence Applied to Legislative Archives,” and “Artificial Intelligence Applied to Legislative Drafting.” Each debate provided an opportunity to delve into the unique challenges and opportunities of implementing AI in legislative settings, shaping a comprehensive narrative around AI’s role in legislative affairs.
Adding to the depth of these conversations was the diverse range of participant institutions. These included the Dr. Fotis Fitsilis from the Hellenic Parliament, Mr. Jonathan Ruckert from NovaWorks Australia, Professor Monica Palmirani from the Università di Bologna, Mr. Joshua Kravitz from the U.S. Senate, Mrs. Patricia Almeida and Mr. Ricardo Vilarins from the Câmara dos Deputados do Brasil, Mr. Ahto Saks from the Chancellery of the Riigikogu of Estonia, Mrs. Sabrina Vigneux from KPMG, Mr. Flavio Heringer, Mr. Daniel Pandino, Mr. Gleison Carneiro Gomes, and Mr. João Lima from the Senado Federal of Brazil, Mr. Alexandre Bess from LegalBot, Mr. Ludovic Delepine from the European Parliament, Mr. Ari Hershowitz from Govable.ai, Mr. Joe Kelly from Xcential Legislative Technologies, Mr. Matthew Waddington from the Drafting Office of the States of Jersey, and Mr. William Clark from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Their involvement provided a wealth of expertise and perspective, enriching the quality of debate and insight produced at the conference.
AI-Powered Modernisation: Helping to enhance the Resilience of the Legislative Institutions
NovaWorks Australia, in a recent presentation, shared insights on their 17 years of work in providing parliaments with AI-integrated software solutions. The central theme was the integration of AI to assist rather than replace parliamentary operations. For instance, AI-enabled automated transcription was highlighted, freeing up staff to focus on refining content.
The presentation outlined several key AI applications in parliamentary settings, including content moderation, efficient search across trusted source documents, and the summarisation of large documents. Emerging trends were discussed too, such as AI-assisted writing and report generation.
Lastly, there was a discussion about the AI’s potential in handling structured and unstructured data, sentiment analysis based on transcripts, and keyword extraction for advanced search. The presentation concluded by hinting at AI’s future role in chat and conversation interactions, underlining NovaWorks Australia’s commitment to bettering parliamentary services through AI.
Regulation and Governance of Artificial Intelligence in Parliaments
The conference began with a vigorous panel discussion on the “Regulation and Governance of Artificial Intelligence in its usage in Parliaments.” This panel discussion, under the moderation of Bússola Tech, welcomed representatives from Hellenic Parliament, NovaWorks Australia, Università di Bologna, U.S. Senate, and Câmara dos Deputados of Brazil.
This opening panel discussion with an examination of the unique operational needs of parliaments and the potential enhancement through tailored AI applications. This led to an exploration of the challenges in transitioning AI prototypes to operational systems within the digital services portfolio of parliaments.
The conversation then shifted to discuss the distinction between custom-designed AI solutions for parliamentary operations and generative AI tools designed for wider usage. The panel addressed necessary precautions when using AI tools not designed explicitly for parliamentary operations.
Ethical considerations of AI in parliamentary contexts were another area of focus. The panellists delved into potential risks associated with AI systems that overlook ethical principles and examined the variations in perceptions of AI risks across different institutions. There was particular emphasis on whether parliaments were sufficiently aware of these risks.
The panel then tackled the global deliberations surrounding potential privacy issues related to AI tools, using Italy’s recent banning of a prominent AI tool due to privacy concerns as a case study. This spurred a discussion on how specialised companies, such as NovaWorks Australia, handle sensitive parliamentary data and how they differentiate from generalist AI tools.
With the growing integration of AI in parliamentary operations, the panellists also discussed how parliaments should construct their internal regulatory frameworks to ensure responsive AI use and development. Additionally, the panel underscored academia’s contribution to the development of responsible AI systems in parliaments.
Digital literacy among MPs and staff, as AI becomes more integral to parliamentary operations, was another critical topic. The panel concluded with a discussion on effective practices towards AI Governance in Parliaments and the impact of the EU AI Act, and its recent amendments, on parliaments’ work on producing and using AI systems. The potential impacts of AI legislation in non-European countries were also scrutinised.
Data Governance in Parliaments
The second panel discussion of the conference, entitled “Data Governance in Parliaments,” expertly navigated by a representative from the Câmara dos Deputados of Brazil, bridged representatives from the Chancellery of the Riigikogu of Estonia, KPMG, the Senado Federal of Brazil, and LegalBot.
The conversation revolved around key aspects of data governance, bringing a plethora of perspectives from distinct legislative and institutional backgrounds. The conversation echoed the common understanding of the inherent complexities and uniqueness of data governance within parliamentary systems. The discussion leaned into the theme of data quality, with KPMG emphasising the significance of high-quality data in decision-making processes. The representatives from Estonia and Brazil shared their unique approaches to tackling the challenges of maintaining and enhancing data quality within their respective governance frameworks.
The dialogue then progressed into the realm of interoperability within data governance frameworks. The need for seamless data flow across various parliamentary departments was underlined, emphasising how data governance and the previous topic of AI regulation are intertwined.
The human dimension of data governance was also explored, leading to an examination of how to improve data literacy and provide necessary training within parliamentary environments. This conversation segued naturally into the next topic on the conference agenda: the application of AI to legislative archives.
Artificial Intelligence Applied to Legislative Archives
The conversation evolved in the third panel discussion titled “Artificial Intelligence Applied to Legislative Archives.” The moderation of this session was conducted by the Senado Federal of Brazil, welcoming the participation of the European Parliament, Câmara dos Deputados of Brazil, Govable.ai, and the Senado Federal of Brazil.
The debate focused on key aspects of the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in interacting with historical legislative data. The diverse backgrounds of the panellists offered a wealth of perspectives from different legislative and institutional environments. The shared understanding underscored the intricate and nuanced nature of AI applications in legislative archives.
Focusing on the interaction of AI with historical legislative data, the debate probed into the significance of understanding the audience and determining effective data delivery formats. This discussion connected with the previously established theme of data governance, highlighting how the transformation of historical documents into usable data is crucial for effective AI applications.
The scarcity of resources and personnel in parliamentary institutions was a recurring theme, with an emphasis on the importance of prioritising the transformation of historical documents into usable data for AI applications. The panel also explored strategies to engage citizens with AI-enhanced legislative archives, underscoring the potential for enhancing Open Parliament initiatives.
Concurrently, the ethical implications of AI handling sensitive legislative data were examined, leading to a reiteration of the importance of the ethical use of AI, a theme established during the opening debate.
Finally, the discussion highlighted the dynamic nature of language, particularly how the meanings of words can evolve significantly over time. The conversation emphasised the necessity of ensuring AI tools are proficient at interpreting these temporal shifts in language to offer a precise, contextually aware search engine for historical legislative documents.
Artificial Intelligence Applied to Legislative Drafting
The conference culminated in a critical panel discussion titled “Artificial Intelligence Applied to Legislative Drafting.” Bússola Tech moderated the panel, involving participants from the Senado Federal of Brazil, the Drafting Office of the States of Jersey, from Xcential Legislative Technologies, and the National Conference of State Legislatures in the USA.
The discussion dissected the potential of AI to enhance legislative drafting processes, illuminating the connections between the application of AI in drafting and its ethical and data governance implications discussed in the previous panels. The discussion focused on the significant potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in augmenting the processes of drafting, analysing, and amending legislation. Speakers illuminated how specific AI applications could be leveraged to address prevalent challenges in legislative drafting, such as improving the management of legislative amendments, ensuring language consistency, and facilitating efficient legal text analysis.
A key part of the dialogue was the exploration of the incorporation of generative AI models, such as GPT-4, into the legislative drafting process. The panel emphasised the critical interplay between this technology and prevailing standards like XML, which serves as the backbone for information structuring and exchange in legislative contexts.
The panel proceeded to evaluate the potential pitfalls of applying AI models in legislative drafting, covering risks from generating false legal precedent to handling sensitive information. They offered valuable insights into how these challenges could be mitigated, reflecting back to the discourse on AI governance and regulation.
Further discussions focused on the importance of tailored drafting systems that are specifically designed to meet the unique demands of parliamentary operations. The speakers elaborated on the advantages of such tailored systems, which align closely with the specific syntax, terminology, and protocols of legislative drafting.
User experience was highlighted as a critical factor in the acceptance and effectiveness of AI tools within legislative processes. The panel examined the demands and requests from offices when incorporating AI into the workflow of legislative drafting.
The LegisTech: AI in Parliaments, organised by Bússola Tech, achieved its ambitious goal of facilitating robust inter-parliamentary debate on the multifaceted relationship between Artificial Intelligence and Parliaments. It illuminated the inherent interconnectedness of various aspects of AI applications in legislative processes, from ethical and governance concerns to data management and drafting procedures. The various panels underscored the urgent need for robust, context-specific AI governance frameworks and policies that consider not only the technology itself but also the human aspect of AI integration.
The conference underscored the transformative potential of AI in parliaments, which could lead to a more efficient, transparent, and responsive democratic institution. However, it also served as a stark reminder of the need for careful and considerate implementation, always bearing in mind the ethical implications and data privacy concerns.
Presentation: AI-Powered Modernisation: Helping to Enhance the Resilience of the Legislative Institutions
Debate: Regulation and Governance of Artificial Intelligence in its usage in Parliaments
Debate: Data Governance in Parliaments
Debate: Artificial Intelligence Applied to Legislative Archives
Debate: Artificial Intelligence Applied to Legislative Drafting