UK Government publishes white paper on AI regulatory framework

29/03/2023 | UK Government

On Wednesday, 29 March, the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) published the UK government's white paper for implementing a pro-innovation approach to artificial intelligence (AI) regulation. The paper: AI regulation: a pro-innovation approach aims to address three objectives: drive growth by reducing regulatory uncertainty and making innovation easier. Increase the public's trust in AI systems by addressing the risks and strengthening the UK's position as a leader in AI. 

The press release states the government seeks to "avoid heavy-handed legislation which could stifle innovation and take an adaptable approach to regulating AI."

The new framework consists of five AI principles: 

  • Safety, security and robustness: applications of AI should function in a secure, safe and robust way where risks are carefully managed
  • Transparency and explainability: organisations developing and deploying AI should be able to communicate when and how it is used and explain a system’s decision-making process in an appropriate level of detail that matches the risks posed by the use of AI
  • Fairness: AI should be used in a way which complies with the UK’s existing laws, for example, the Equality Act 2010 or UK GDPR, and must not discriminate against individuals or create unfair commercial outcomes
  • Accountability and governance: measures are needed to ensure there is appropriate oversight of the way AI is being used and clear accountability for the outcomes
  • Contestability and redress: people need to have clear routes to dispute harmful outcomes or decisions generated by AI

The government has opened a public consultation on the proposals set out in the white paper and its AI regulation impact assessment. The consultations close on 21 June 2023.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) first announced its set of proposals for a new AI rulebook in July 2022.

Responses to the UK's proposals are beginning to appear, as The Guardian reported in its article (see footnote of full story), discussing Elon Musk joining the call to pause giant AI projects. The Ada Lovelace Institute and Labour are among the first to criticise the government's plans.  

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