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Sophie Cameron

Features and Opinion Editor, Solicitors Journal

Government publishes first artificial intelligence white paper

Government publishes first artificial intelligence white paper


The white paper sets out the new approach to regulating artificial intelligence

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology published the UK’s first white paper on artificial intelligence (AI) on 29 March, which sets out the new approach to regulating AI in order to build trust in cutting-edge technologies and encourage businesses to innovate.

Alongside the publication of the white paper, the government has also launched a consultation on the AI regulation proposals included in the white paper and the related AI regulation impact assessments. The consultation welcomes responses until 21 June 2023.

According to the government’s press release, the white paper provides a new national blueprint for regulators to drive responsible innovation and maintain public trust in AI. The proposals included in the white paper aim to address concerns, such as questions about privacy and human rights aspects, and help create the right environment for AI to develop safely in the UK.

The white paper explains that industry has expressed concern that regulatory incoherence and misalignment in the approach to AI could stifle innovation and competition by causing a disproportionate number of smaller businesses to leave the market. As such, regulatory coordination is seen as essential in order to support businesses to invest in AI innovation and build public trust by ensuring the risks are effectively addressed.

The UK’s approach to AI will ‘avoid heavy-handed legislation,’ which could hinder innovation and instead adopt a flexible approach that can adapt to changes as the technology develops. Existing regulators, such as the Health and Safety Executive, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Competition and Markets Authority, will be required to develop tailored, context-specific approaches suited to the way AI is being applied in the relevant sectors.

The five principles that the relevant regulators are advised to consider to best facilitate the safe and innovative use of AI in the industries they monitor are: safety, security and robustness; transparency and explainability; fairness; accountability and governance; and contestability and redress. The relevant regulators will issue practical guidance to organisations in the next 12 months, as well as other tools and resources, to clarify the specific approach being taken to the five core principles. Legislation may also be introduced to ensure that regulators apply the principles consistently.