On 31 August 2023, the UK’s House of Commons Innovation and Technology Committee (“Committee”) published an interim report (“Report”) evaluating the UK Government’s AI governance proposals and examining different approaches to the regulation of AI systems. As readers of this blog will be aware, in March 2023, the UK Government published a White Paper setting out its “pro-innovation approach to AI regulation” which will require existing regulators to take responsibility for promoting and overseeing responsible AI within their sectors (for further information on the UK Government’s strategy, see our blog post here).
The Report recommends that the UK Government introduce a “tightly-focused AI Bill” in the next parliamentary session to “position the UK as an AI governance leader”.
The following is a summary of key aspects of the Report:
Challenges in AI Governance
Based on evidence provided by public and private sector stakeholders, the Committee has identified 12 challenges of AI governance that they believe the UK Government should address through domestic policy and international engagement. According to the Report, the challenges include:
- Bias: AI systems may introduce or perpetuate biases;
- Privacy: AI systems could allow individuals’ personal information to be gathered and used;
- Intellectual property and copyright: AI models could use third party’s content in ways that infringe IP in that content;
- Liability: If third parties use AI systems to do harm, policy must establish whether developers or providers of those systems bear any liability; and
- International coordination: AI is a global technology, and the development of governance frameworks to regulate its uses should be an international undertaking.
The UK Government’s Approach to AI Regulation
The Committee acknowledged that the Government’s AI White Paper “should be welcomed as an initial effort to engage with a complex task”. However, the Committee also made a number of recommendations to Government, including:
- carrying out a gap analysis of the UK’s regulators, which considers resourcing capacity and whether regulators require new powers to implement and enforce the principles outlined in the AI White Paper; and
- confirming whether AI-specific legislation will be introduced and what work has been undertaken across Government to explore the possible content of that legislation.
The UK Government is expected to respond to the Report and has also committed to providing a wider update on its regulatory approach to AI through a response to the White Paper consultation later this year. We expect there to be further UK AI policy developments following the AI Safety Summit the Government is convening in November 2023. According to the UK Government, the Summit will bring together AI companies, international governments, academics and civil society groups to discuss potential risks of AI and how they can be mitigated through internationally coordinated action.
Covington regularly advises the world’s top technology companies on their most challenging regulatory, compliance, and public policy issues in the EU, UK and other major markets. We are monitoring the EU and UK’s developments very closely and will be updating this site regularly – please watch this space for further updates.