The Report

2.1 Year of publication

Publication dates for the programs in the database span 20-years between 2001 and 2019. The earliest example of AI soft law is a standard developed by a Chinese entity in 2001 titled “Artificial Intelligence–Basic Concepts and Expert System.” As shown in Table 3, this program did not immediately catalyze a barrage of similar efforts. Instead, the development of programs between 2001 and 2014 was limited to 20 specimens representing 3.5% of the database’s total.

Similar to trends uncovered in scholarly efforts devoted to analyzing the governance of AI, the creation of soft law for this technology is a recent phenomenon [2]. This is underscored by the finding that 91% of programs in our sample were published between 2016-2019. Interestingly, the publication of a program is a lagging indicator of the work performed by organizations. In other words, the impetus for managing AI methods and applications could be attributed to work that began several years prior to this timeline, such as between 2014 and 2017.