The increasing importance of artificial intelligence (AI) requires a careful analysis of the current legal framework in Switzerland. With the postulate “Legal situation AI – clarify uncertainties, promote innovation”, Marcel Dobler, FDP National Councillor and Vice-President of digitalswitzerland, calls on the Federal Council to examine whether the current legal system and its principles do justice to developments in the field of new technologies and to identify uncertainties.

Building on this analysis, the federal council shall examine whether a strategy based on an opportunity-risk analysis needs to be devised by a group of experts from business, science and NGOs. If necessary, a concept on the need for legislative action should be developed, in which priorities, timetable and resources are defined.

Switzerland has already taken important steps to recognise and respond to the importance of AI. These include the Confederation’s guidelines on AI, the Digital Switzerland Strategy, the report of the Interdepartmental Working Group on Artificial Intelligence (IDAG AI), the Federal Statistical Office’ Competence Network on Artificial Intelligence (CNAI), as well as the engagement in the Council of Europe’s Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAI) for binding guidelines within the members of the Council of Europe. Nevertheless, Switzerland has so far refrained from passing its own AI law and has remained true to the approach of “as much as necessary, as little as possible” as well as technology-neutral formulations of the laws. However, Braun Binder et al. (2021) show in their article “Künstliche Intelligenz: Handlungsbedarf im Schweizer Recht” (EN: Artificial Intelligence – Need for Action in Swiss Law) that on closer inspection, due to the technology-neutral approach, selective adjustments are needed in Switzerland.

A selective adaptation of laws and ordinances is not far removed from reality. The DLT Act, which was passed by parliament in 2020 and fully enacted by the Federal Council in 2021, shows that a selective adaptation of the laws can bring about a flourishing innovation landscape for promising technologies that are even crucial for Switzerland. The DLT Act has ensured that Switzerland is still a leading global location for blockchain technologies.

Please find the full postulate in German.