Huw Roberts


huw roberts 2





Huw Roberts

DPhil candidate, Oxford Internet Institute



Huw Roberts is a doctoral researcher at the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute and an Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). His research focuses on China’s role in international AI governance. Huw’s research has been published in various academic journals, including Asian Affairs, The Information Society, and the Internet Policy Review. His words have appeared in several general audience or China-focused media outlets, such as The Financial Times, The Times and East Asia Forum. Huw previously worked for the UK Government where he was involved in developing key AI policy documents, such as the country's National AI Strategy. He has also worked on AI policy as a Research Fellow at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School and the Tony Blair Institute. Huw holds an MSc from the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute (UK) and an MPhil from the Yenching Academy of Peking University (China).

DPhil topic

'International AI standards and the rise of China' 

Recent advances in AI, combined with a proliferation in use, has led to a newfound emphasis on strengthening the global governance of AI. Geopolitical tensions, particularly between the US and China, threaten prospects for substantive global agreement between states. This suggests that private governance – such as through international standards bodies – may be a more fruitful avenue for international rulemaking. However, anecdotal evidence is increasingly pointing to instances of standards bodies being used as proxies for interstate tensions, in line with the rise of China in these institutions over the past 10 years.  

Against this backdrop, my doctoral research explores the role that ISO/IEC JTC SC42 (the AI Joint Technical Committee of the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission) should play in global AI governance. Using qualitative research methods, I explore how standards bodies are being politicised at an interstate and an institutional level. In particular, I consider the impact that the rise of China in international standards bodies following Xi Jinping’s coming to power has had on interstate and institutional dynamics. This research contributes to literature on global AI governance, international private governance, and the rise of China.