UK’s proposed AI regulation diverts from ‘centralised’ EU model

UK AI regulation EU

The UK government has set out its proposal for a new artificial intelligence (AI) rulebook that aims to balance safety and innovation when regulating the technology.

The proposal would see responsibilities split among regulators, as the government looks to diverge from the European Union’s centralised authority approach.

This would see regulators like Ofcom, the CMA, the ICO and the FCA interpret and implement AI regulation individually using six “core principles”.

These include ensuring AI is: used safely, technically secure and works as designed, transparent and explainable, considers fairness, identifies a person with legal responsibility for the system and clarifies routes to contest AI decisions.

In the new AI paper, the government said the EU’s AI approach is “grounded in the product safety regulation of the Single Market” but that it does “not believe this approach is right for the UK”.

The proposal is keen to avoid excessive barriers for businesses but could require companies to share information about how they test AI reliability.

The government is seeking consultation from industry, but whatever direction the new regulation takes it will have implications for startups and enterprises using AI technology.

“We want to make sure the UK has the right rules to empower businesses and protect people as AI and the use of data keeps changing the ways we live and work,” said Digital Minister Damian Collins.

“It is vital that our rules offer clarity to businesses, confidence to investors and boost public trust. Our flexible approach will help us shape the future of AI and cement our global position as a science and tech superpower.”

The plans come as the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill is being introduced to parliament. The bill, which was announced in the Queen’s Speech in May, will transform the UK’s data laws.

Professor Dame Wendy Hall, acting chair of the AI Council said: “We welcome these important early steps to establish a clear and coherent approach to regulating AI.

“This is critical to driving responsible innovation and supporting our AI ecosystem to thrive. The AI Council looks forward to working with the government on the next steps to develop the white paper.”

However, the future of the government’s AI regulation policy proposal remains uncertain due to the ongoing Conservative Party leadership contest. A future prime minister may opt to steer the government in a direction, or scrap the policy completely.