Under the leadership of the Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP, Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, the UK government has recently announced its goal to position the country as a science and technology superpower by 2030. To that end, a white paper on Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been released, which outlines the government’s commitment to making the UK the best place in the world to build, test, and use AI technology.
The white paper highlights the transformative potential of AI and its ability to deliver social and economic benefits for real people. From improving NHS medical care to enhancing transportation safety, AI is already making a significant impact. The government’s vision is to use this technology to empower various other sectors. Some of the ones mentioned in the paper are healthcare, law enforcement, transport, and climate science. The goal is to make the UK “the smartest, healthiest, safest, and happiest place to live and work”.
The regulatory framework outlined in the white paper focuses on the context in which AI is deployed rather than targeting specific technologies. The government plans to leverage the expertise of regulators to ensure a balanced approach that weighs the benefits against the potential drawbacks. A regulatory sandbox for AI will be established to support innovators directly, provide market access, and refine the interaction between regulation and new technologies.
The UK government has a track record of investing over 2.5 billion in AI since 2014. The new initiatives build on recent funding announcements of 110 million for the AI Tech Missions Fund and 900 million for an AI Research Resource. There are also plans to develop an exascale supercomputer capable of running large AI models. Additionally, the government has allocated 8 million for the AI Global Talent Network and 117 million to create new PhDs for AI researchers.
The UK’s departure from the EU provides an opportunity to create a regulatory framework that solidifies the country’s status as a leading power in the field of artificial intelligence. The government’s commitment to a pro-innovation approach aims to attract AI businesses to establish a presence in the UK. The white paper also emphasises the importance of engaging internationally to support interoperability across regulatory regimes, and embed UK values as global approaches to governing AI development.
The government is firmly dedicated to fostering an environment that maximizes the benefits of AI, and upholding its standing at the forefront of technological innovation, thereby bringing its vision to fruition. The white paper emphasizes the importance of getting regulation right to foster innovation and address potential risks. Building public trust in AI is crucial to ensuring widespread adoption and maximising the benefits it offers.
Secretary of State Michelle Donelan said, “Our vision for an AI-enabled country is one where our NHS heroes are able to save lives using AI technologies that were unimaginable just a few decades ago. I want our police, transport networks, and climate scientists, among many others, to be empowered by AI technologies that will make the UK the smartest, healthiest, safest, and happiest place to live and work. It is a vision that has been shaped by stakeholders and experts in AI, whose expertise and ideas I am determined to see reflected in our department.”
The white paper on AI regulation sets the stage for the UK’s journey towards becoming an AI superpower. Collaboration between government, regulators, and businesses will be key to creating the best possible regulatory framework that supports innovation, addresses risks, and builds public trust.
Some of the industries mentioned in the white paper use AI-powered platforms, like RegAsk, to monitor and stay informed of their regulatory obligations. It remains to be seen whether these platforms could also be used to manage regulatory compliance for AI technologies.
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