The new ‘AI rulebook’ for technology innovation in the UK government

Business team working together, using tablet for analyzing data monitoring room with team.
© Pop Nukoonrat

To improve the regulation of Artificial Intelligence, the UK government have put forth an AI rulebook to protect data and promote responsible AI use

These proposals, pitched in the AI rulebook, look toward the future regulation of Artificial Intelligence, and take a less centralised approach than the EU.

Artificial Intelligence refers to machines which learn from data how to perform tasks normally performed by humans. For example, AI helps identify patterns in financial transactions that could indicate fraud and clinicians diagnose illnesses based on chest images – AI is now increasingly used in healthcare settings.

The government’s new plans for regulating the use of artificial intelligence (AI), as a Data Protection and Digital Information Bill introduced to Parliament, will help to develop consistent rules to promote innovation in this technology and protect the public.

The UK is already home to a thriving AI sector attracting over $4.65 billion in 2021

The AI rulebook specifies the government’s approach to regulating the technology in the UK, with proposed rules addressing future risks and opportunities so businesses are clear on how they can develop and use AI systems and consumers are confident they are safe.

Focusing on supporting growth and avoiding unnecessary barriers being placed on businesses, this will help businesses share information about how they test their AI’s reliability as well as following guidance set by UK regulators to ensure AI is safe and avoids unfair bias.

The approach is based on six core principles that regulators must apply, with flexibility to implement these in ways that best meet the use of AI in their sectors. These regulators like Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), will apply the six principles to oversee AI in a range of contexts

Using AI responsibly while reducing compliance burdens on businesses

Existing laws that apply to AI can be hard for organisations and smaller businesses to navigate, as overlaps, inconsistencies and gaps in the current approaches can confuse the rules, making it harder for organisations and the public to have confidence where AI is used.

If rules around AI in the UK fail to keep up with fast moving technology, innovation could be stifled and it will become harder for regulators to protect the public.

So, to counter this, instead of giving responsibility for AI governance to a central regulatory body – as the EU is doing through its AI Act – the government’s proposals will allow different regulators to take a tailored approach to the use of AI in a range of settings.

This approach will create proportionate and adaptable regulation so that AI continues to be rapidly adopted in the UK to boost productivity and growth.

The core principles require developers and users to:

  • Ensure that AI is used safely
  • Ensure that AI is technically secure and functions as designed
  • Make sure that AI is appropriately transparent and explainable
  • Consider fairness
  • Identify a legal person to be responsible for AI
  • Clarify routes to redress or contestability

The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill has been introduced to Parliament which will transform the UK’s data laws to boost innovation in technologies such as AI.

This Bill will seize the benefits of Brexit to keep a high standard of protection for people’s privacy and personal data while delivering around £1 billion in savings for businesses.

Digital Minister Damian Collins said: “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.

“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.”

AI technologies have unlocked benefits across the economy already – from tracking tumours in Glasgow and improving animal welfare on dairy farms in Belfast to speeding up property purchases in England.

Research this year predicted more than 1.3 million UK businesses will be using artificial intelligence and investing over £200 billion in the technology by 2040.


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