Below are the FAQs as per May 2023. Some answers changed once the definitive version of the Rulebook became available; in this case we have added a remark in parenthesis at the end of the answer.
Potential teams and team members
The video of the Proposers’ Day, including presentations of the speakers, is available on our Youtube channel.
The Grand Challenge prize of 100’000 CHF(approx. 100’000 €/$) will be given in cash via bank transfer, i.e., not in the form of a prize in kind such as a gold bar, car, etc. In keeping with the motto of the University of St. Gallen, “From Insight to Impact”, and the Grand Challenge being a research undertaking, the winning team is expected to use the prize money for further research (“insight”) or for putting its research into practice (“impact”).
We are making the Grand Challenge Rulebook available in two installments, namely Rulebook 1.0 and 2.0. Rulebook 1.0 contains sufficient information for potential teams and team members to decide whether to apply to become a Grand Challenge Team. It is available on SSRN as a basis for team applications until 22 March 2023. Rulebook 2.0 will be available well before the Boot Camp on 11 or 12 July 2023, be based on and expound on Rulebook 1.0, and contain the detailed rules that legally apply to and govern the Grand Challenge, in particular the Final.
Yes, absolutely. Implementation of and compliance with the EU AI Act raise questions of general nature that need to be answered on all continents, including the U.S., irrespective of the applicable legal framework. The experience Teams make in the Grand Challenge will likely scale up beyond the jurisdiction of the EU to other legal orders.
You might have joined us at the Proposers’ Day, our online informational event on 2 March 2023. The recording is available on our Youtube channel. You can still register for matchmaking. Note however that we will not allocate individuals to potential teams. We expect the Teams to form themselves. There is no point in sending us an application on 22 March 2023 stating that you want to be part of a Team. By that point, you need to be integrated as a member into the application of a prospective team in order to be considered for participation. We might offer suggestions to Teams that applied later, depending on the circumstances, but we will only do this after the application window has closed, i.e., after 22 March 2023.
We will disclose the composition of the Jury in due course. Some of the members of the Jury will be experienced in judging, others in research, but they will all be lawyers, i.e., persons trained and educated in the law (though not necessarily admitted to the bar). None of them will be experts of technology or computer science. The Jury will consist of 3-5 persons, with members having roots in Europe or North America. They will cover various disciplines of the law, including public and private (commercial) law. While the Grand Challenge AI assessments will be addressed to the AI producers, there is an inherent court of law aspect in that the Jury also considers whether the AI assessments would hold up in court. We kindly ask potential teams and team members to respect the code of ethics part of the Rulebook which precludes them from approaching members of the Jury outside of the formal avenues of the Grand Challenge. (The members of the Jury are now visible on the webpage)
The criteria we apply to select Teams are: expertise, credibility, and diversity in terms of gender, age, and general background. As the Grand Challenge is a research-driven undertaking, the team leader must have an affiliation with academia, but we intend to handle this somewhat flexibly. Given the complexities of the technology and the EU AI Act, teams should include professionals and practitioners, but we encourage them to include also a student to foster the educational dimension. Teams consist of 6 persons max. Some knowledge in computer science is probably required to conduct AI assessments successfully.
We expect Teams to be at the Final in person (18-19 July 2023) and hopefully at the Boot Camp. Depending on circumstances, we may offer a limited number of informational sessions with talks on substantive aspects that are relevant for the GrandChallenge, e.g., a progress report on the EU A.I. Act or the work in the standardizing bodies. These sessions will take place online in the period between the selection and the Final. They will in any case be short. In addition, we may occasionally have online contact with the Team leaders for updates. We are very much aware that you have other things to do than being a member of a Grand Challenge Team and do not intend to turn the Grand Challenge into a full time occupation for you. Essentially, we want to keep it within proportions that can be handled easily for someone with a full-time job. How much preparation Teams require individually to be up to the task of assessing AI applications, in turn, is hard for us to tell, as it depends on the level of expertise each Team has. Depending on the AI application (and the AI Provider), we may provide some information (a briefing or a short dossier) on this AI application ahead of the Final. We will do this, if we expect that an AI application is too complicated to understand in the limited time available at the Final. Again, we intend to keep this within proportions and Teams should receive notice about the timing well before the Final.
Team leaders’ affiliation to academia is necessary because we are part of a public university that can only do research (and education). Requiring Teams to be led by someone who is affiliated to academia anchors the Grand Challenge in research. Being in academia also subjects one to the rules of academia, including academic freedom, academic honesty, expense regulations, etc. From this it becomes evident that a Team leader’s affiliation to academia must be current. Ideally, a Team leader is a senior researcher with experience in the field and a position (job) in academia. Students do not qualify as Team leaders, as students are not typically part of the corps employed at university to do research. A post-doc may qualify, depending on the circumstances, as may aPhD-student, depending on the modalities of the PhD. We understand the term academia broadly, i.e., including research institutes (e.g., Max Planck institutes, Fraunhofer institutes, etc.), institutes of applied science (e.g., Institutes of applied sciences/ Fachhochschulen in the German-speaking countries), and private universities. There are various academic functions and roles that could, depending on the circumstances, suffice for qualification as a Team leader, e.g., being a honorary professor, visiting professor, external teacher, etc. In such a case, a team should provide some evidence with their application that the Team leader is subject to the rules of academia and that the academic institution concerned is aware and agrees to the Team leader appearing for the institution in the Grand Challenge, e.g., by means of a letter of support. A team can add such a document to their application, but for reasons of fairness, should keep such supporting documents to the absolute minimum necessary (1-2 pages). In case of doubt about whether a person qualifies as a team leader, please reach out via e-mail to email@example.com.
The idea of section 1.1 is that Teams should not try to find out who provides the AI technology to be assessed at the Grand Challenge. If you come across an AI Provider of the Grand Challenge, please do not insist or try to find further information with regard to the role of the entity you are facing in and the technology it provides to theGrand Challenge. However, the Grand Challenge is by no means meant to interfere with your normal work. If you have business with technology companies, being a Team in the Grand Challenge does not prevent you from continuing your work with these companies. If your business happens to be consulting technology companies on law and ethics of AI, the Grand Challenge does not prevent you from continuing this business. On the contrary, we encourage you to participate as a Team. You may also want to contact technology companies with a view to joining you in your Team and we encourage this, too. We just ask you to be careful when it comes to discussing the Grand Challenge with your clients, etc., especially once you are admitted to the Grand Challenge as a Team. You should not seek to acquire an unfair advantage over other Teams participating in the GrandChallenge.
We do not have firm expectations in this regard. You can briefly explain your approach, etc., in the cover letter if it serves to demonstrate your expertise. You can expect us to be familiar with the main public documents, in particular, the EU A.I. Act, so it is not necessary to go into details in this regard.
It will depend on the AI application to be assessed and the AI Provider putting it up for assessment. Hence access may vary from AI application to AI application. As organizers, we need to give our AI Providers the freedom to set their own limits in this regard.
Yes, absolutely.There are no constraints as to what Teams can use, as long as they use it within their Team, i.e., the Team does not collaborate with persons not part of their Team. However, Teams are invited to factor in that they will probably have less time to interact with AI Providers than they would have outside of a competition. There will probably not be more than 1 hour per AI Provider per team in the Final. This may limit the extent to which Teams can use questionnaires, etc., in their interaction with AI Providers. We expect the interaction between AI Providers and Teams to take place mostly orally during the time allocated (+/- 1h).
The details of the output have not yet been settled, but the idea is that Teams produce an aggregated assessment report, i.e., a report covering all the AI applications assessed in the Final, and hand this report in to the Jury. This report will be rather short. Teams would do well to keep in mind that the Jury needs to study all the Team reports during a limited amount of time that will probably not exceed a few hours. As to the specific AI assessments, the output is open. It is worth noting that some AI Providers participate in the Grand Challenge because they want to know whether and to which extent their AI application is in compliance with the EU AI Act. They are also open to advice on how to improve compliance. The Jury will also look at such advice. If such advice would have been necessary in the view of the Jury and it is not in an assessment report, the assessment will probably be considered weaker. The AI assessments Teams do during the Grand Challenge do not have to be done solely under the EU AI Act. Other frameworks (standards, etc.) may also be relevant for the assessment in the light of the EU AI Act, as long as they are compatible with it. (See section 4.2.8 of the Rulebook, "Assessment Report".)
The Grand Challenge does not assert any intellectual property rights with regard to Teams’ contributions, in particular, the tools Teams use to assess AI technology. For the Grand Challenge to function properly, specific AI assessments Teams make must be made available to us as organizers, our Strategic Partner (the Swiss Drone and Robotics Centre), AI providers, and the Jury. In keeping with the Grand Challenge being a research undertaking and in the interest of transparency of the award, Teams’ AI assessments will be shared among Teams that fully conclude the Grand Challenge Final. AI assessments will not be public, though, and Teams are not allowed to make other Teams’ assessment public. Teams are free to release their own assessments for the public to see unless the Rulebook precludes this for a specific AI application. As organizers, we will make public a report on our experience with the Grand Challenge in aggregated form, i.e.without the details of AI assessments. Finally, we do assert our rights with regard to the idea and concept of the Grand Challenge.
There is currently no prize for the runner-up Team. (According to section 2.1 of the Rulebook, the runner-up would win 5'000 CHF.)
We cannot answer this for sure yet, as we are currently putting together the AI applications to be assessed in the Final. We aim at about half a dozen AI applications for the Final. The amount of time available for each AI assessment is not yet clear. It will depend on the number of AI applications to be assessed, and their complexity. Most likely, not ever yAI assessment will take the same amount of time. (There were seven AI application and the time available was 30 minutes.)
We aim to have what we call a carry-over AI application, i.e., an AI application that Teams face for the first time during the Boot Camp on 11 or 12 July 2023 and then again at the Grand Challenge Final on 18-19 July 2023. This gives Teams several days to work on the assessment of the carry-over AI application. If there is a carry-over AI application, Teams or at least parts of Teams will obviously have an interest in being at the Boot Camp. That aside, we do not strictly expect Teams to be present in full at the BootCamp. Persons who are not strictly members of a Team, e.g., someone showing up instead of a Team member, will not be admitted to the Boot Camp (or the Grand Challenge Final). This partly answers why we are not making the Boot Camp mandatory. However, another aspect is that the Boot Camp takes place in the security context. The disaster relief scenarios offered at the ARCHE Days (see next answer) are organized by the disaster relief unit of the Swiss armed forces so that the civil research groups (mostly from Swiss Universities) can test their technology. Our Boot Camp is integrated into this exercise. As we are aware that not every team member may be comfortable with a security context, we refrain from making the Boot Camp mandatory and expecting presence of every single team member. (For the AI Providers see the webpage.)
We aim to have what we call a carry-over AI application, i.e. an AI application that Teams face for the first time during the Boot Camp on 11 or 12 July 2023 and then again at the Grand Challenge Final 18-19 July 2023. This gives Teams several days to work on the assessment of the carry-over AI application. If there is a carry-over AI application, Teams or at least parts of Teams will obviously have an interest in being at the Boot Camp. That aside, we do not strictly expect Teams to be present in full at the Boot Camp. Persons who are not strictly members of a Team, e.g., someone showing up instead of a Team member, will not be admitted to the Boot Camp (or the Grand Challenge Final).
The Boot Camp is organized by our StrategicPartner, the Swiss Drone and Robotics Centre. It will be part of the ARCHE Integration Week 2023 (https://www.ar.admin.ch/en/home.detail.news.html/ar-internet/news-2021/news-w-t/arche-2021.html) that focuses on disaster relief systems (ARCHE, Advanced Robotic Capabilities for Hazardous Environments). The ARCHE Integration Week 2023 will take place near Geneva. The Boot Camp is an occasion for Teams to practice some of their assessment skills before the Grand Challenge Final.
We are doing our best to cover expenses of Teams or at least some of them. As things currently stand, it is likely that basic accommodation and board at the Boot Camp will be covered, but Teams should not expect us to cover a significant part of their other expenses.
While we make every possible effort to raise funds also to cover some of the expenses of Teams we cannot guarantee anything at this point (see also the previous answer). We kindly ask Teams to try to raise their own funds to cover their travel and accommodation expenses. Hopefully, the fact of having been selected as a Team to participate in the Grand Challenge will enable Teams to make a credible pitch with potential funding institutions. However, we are ready to consider special cases, especially of Teams and or Team members from less developed regions. Please feel free to make an indication to this effect in the cover letter.
Basically, no. The code of ethics part of the Rulebook will preclude Teams and their members from collaborating with other Teams because this would undermine the competition. To form teams and apply for participation, interaction is obviously possible and necessary. Once selected, Teams should refrain from collaborating with other Teams.
Potential AI Providers
We will answer your questions individually and personally if you are a potential AI Provider. Please bear in mind that the success of the Grand Challenge hinges on Teams not knowing which AI technology they will assess in the competition. We therefore kindly ask you to keep everything about potential AI provision to the Grand Challenge confidential.
If you ask yourself, in particular, why you should participate as an AI provider in the Grand Challenge, we have an information sheet that discusses the advantages for you. We are happy to share it with you. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Essentially because we are situated in Switzerland. Though Switzerland is not a Member State of the EU, legislation of the EU such as the EU AI Act usually affects Switzerland almost like EU Member States. The Grand Challenge is a practical, research-driven undertaking that does not focus on political relationships, including those within the EU or between the EU and Switzerland or other third countries.
As the Grand Challenge focuses on research, we do not have “sponsors” like commercially oriented undertakings, such as sports, media, TV events, etc. The funding for the Grand Challenge stems from research institutions that become “Partners” of the Grand Challenge (see our homepage). If you are interested to become a Partner of the Grand Challenge, please contact us at email@example.com. We encourage commercially oriented undertakings, such as technology companies, law firms, standards organization, consulting firms, banks, insurance companies, etc. to sponsor a team or field a team themselves.
Which law applies to the Grand Challenge?
Any recourse to the courts of law is excluded. The Grand Challenge relies on the good faith of all participants, rather than challenges brought to courts. As organizers, we will at all times do our best to hear and heed participants’ legitimate concerns, in particular, those of Teams. The Rulebook 2.0, as it expands on Rulebook 1.0, is the authoritative legal framework for the Grand Challenge. Any question the Rulebook does not address is subject to Swiss law. Regular Swiss courts shall have jurisdiction to the extent that recourse to the courts of law cannot lawfully be excluded.