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Following the government’s AI Regulation White Paper consultation and the establishment of the AI Safety Institute, UK regulatory bodies are to receive additional funding to address challenges of artificial intelligence.
£10 million will fund work to prepare and upskill regulators to address the risks and harness the opportunities of this defining technology. The fund will help regulators develop cutting-edge research and practical tools to monitor and address risks and opportunities in their sectors, from telecoms and healthcare to finance and education.
Many regulators have already taken action, including data regulator the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) which has updated guidance on how data protection laws apply to AI systems. Key regulators, including Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority, have been asked to publish their approach to managing the technology by 30 April in order to offer transparency to businesses about how they can use this emerging technology appropriately.
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation, and Technology, Michelle Donelan said:
“AI is moving fast, but we have shown that humans can move just as fast. By taking an agile, sector-specific approach, we have begun to grip the risks immediately, which in turn is paving the way for the UK to become one of the first countries in the world to reap the benefits of AI safely.“
An additional £90 million of funding has also been announced to support nine new research hubs to support support British AI expertise in harnessing the technology across areas including healthcare, chemistry, and mathematics.
The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) will also receive £2 million to support research into responsible use of AI in education, policing and the creative industries. A further £19 million will support projects to develop responsible AI and machine learning solutions.
Industry leaders have given their support for the UK’s agile approach to AI regulation.
Lila Ibrahim, Chief Operating Officer, Google DeepMind, commented:
“I welcome the UK government’s statement on the next steps for AI regulation, and the balance it strikes between supporting innovation and ensuring AI is used safely and responsibly.
“The hub and spoke model will help the UK benefit from the domain expertise of regulators, as well as provide clarity to the AI ecosystem – and I’m particularly supportive of the commitment to support regulators with further resources.
“AI represents an opportunity to drive progress for humanity, and we look forward to working with the government to ensure that the UK can continue to be a global leader in AI research and set the standard for good regulation.”
Hugh Milward, Vice-President, External Affairs Microsoft UK said:
“The decisions we take now will determine AI’s potential to grow our economy, revolutionise public services and tackle major societal challenges and we welcome the government’s response to the AI White Paper.
“Seizing this opportunity will require responsible and flexible regulation that supports the UK’s global leadership in the era of AI.”