Government publishes response to AI Regulation White Paper

The Government has published the response to its AI Regulation White Paper consultation. Whilst the Government acknowledges that legislative action will eventually be needed to tackle the challenges of AI, the response marks the next step in its regulatory approach, setting out early thinking and questions that need to be considered before legislation is enacted.

Key takeaways from the response include:

  • the Government is pro-innovation in its approach to AI;
  • the Government’s approach to regulating AI is flexible and adaptive, allowing it to act decisively and respond to technological progress;
  • safety is a priority to ensure AI’s trustworthiness and public adoption;
  • the Government has announced that over £100 million will be invested to help realise new AI innovations and support regulators’ technical capabilities:
    • £10 million will be used jumpstart regulator’s AI capabilities and help them develop practical tools to monitor and address risks and opportunities in their sectors; and
    • c.£90 million will be used to launch of nine new research hubs across the UK to propel innovation;
  • the Government will work closely with regulators to ensure cohesion across the landscape, hopefully allowing innovators to bring new products to the market safely and quickly;
  • several new initiatives have been announced to make the UK an attractive place to build and use AI including a £9 million partnership with the US on responsible AI (as part of the International Science Partnership Fund) and a commitment from UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) that future investments in AI research will be leveraged to support regulator skills and expertise;
  • the Government wants to understand the risks of AI before legislating to avoid harming our ability to benefit from technological progress;
  • the Government has asked key regulators – such as Ofcom and CMA – to publish their plans by 30 April 2024 for how they are responding to AI risks and opportunities. They will set out AI-related risks in their areas, detailing their current skillsets and expertise to address them, and a plan for how they will regulate AI over the coming year;
  • the Government proposes to impose binding requirements on those organisations developing highly capable general-purpose AI systems – this will ensure that they are accountable for making these technologies sufficiently safe.

The Government plans to establish a new steering committee to support coordination across the AI governance landscape. It also plans to conduct targeted consultation on its cross-economy AI risk register and assess the regulatory framework.

Vida Fatemi