Lord Tim Clement-Jones
Vice-chair, the APPG on Data Analytics
Project Co-ordinator, Policy Connect
Daily, we are hit with news on the advancements of AI; where it might lead; the benefits and risks. As these discussions become more regular, policymakers must adapt policies to reflect these nuances and introduce measures which support an ethical AI future.
Artificial intelligence (AI) provides opportunities to improve lives, such as through faster cancer diagnosis and treatment. It also helps us tackle global challenges like the climate emergency. However, it also brings about real risks to people’s lives.
For example, through deepened discrimination towards marginalised individuals and infringement of human rights when facial recognition used in policing has a built-in bias. To mitigate risks and enable an environment where AI technologies can flourish, strong government regulation is essential.
Ethical AI through government developments
The UK is potentially on a path to becoming a catalyst for AI innovation. With the release of the AI White Paper in March 2023, the Government has introduced proposals for AI governance that are intended to drive growth, increase public trust in AI and position the UK as a global leader in AI. However, the Government’s light-touch approach to regulation presents a barrier to achieving this ambition.
To unlock the true potential of AI through
regulation, any central support function
must have statutory footing.
No one could argue with the principles set out in the White Paper, but what do they mean in practice for an IT professional or AI startup? The application of these principles relies on voluntary efforts by everyone concerned and ignores the issue of certain sectors lacking a regulator, or those sectors which have multiple regulators, making it difficult to coordinate.
Regulation that promotes trust and enables innovation
The gaps in the framework highlight the need to fine-tune the regulatory framework to one which provides certainty to businesses and provides citizens with trust and clear lines of accountability. To unlock the true potential of AI through regulation, any central support function must have statutory footing.
This is why The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Data Analytics, supported by Policy Connect, will publish a report in June, setting out a practical set of proposals for regulation and governance needed to encourage investment in innovation, manage risk, promote cross-jurisdictional alignment and build public trust. If regulation progress can keep up with AI advancements, then we can all enjoy a future with ethical AI.