n July 18, the U.K. government published a policy paper titled “Establishing a pro-innovation approach to regulating AI” (the “Paper”). Instead of giving responsibility for AI governance to a central national regulatory body, as the EU is planning to do through its draft AI Act, the government’s proposals will allow different regulators to take a tailored approach to the use of AI in a range of settings to ensure that the U.K.’s AI regulations can keep pace with change and don’t stand in the way of innovation.
On the same date, the U.K. Government published its AI Action Plan, summarizing the actions taken and planned to be taken to deliver the U.K.’s National AI Strategy (the “AI Strategy”).
A ‘Pro-Innovation Framework’
The Paper forms part of a response to one of the government’s medium term key actions under the AI Strategy, which envisaged an AI regulation White Paper being published within six months of the strategy’s publication. That March deadline has now passed and this Paper is designed as a stepping stone to the forthcoming White Paper and provides interesting details on scope, the government’s regulatory approach, key principles and the next steps. The Paper also gives detail on what this would look like in a broad sense, namely that the framework is to be:
- Pro-innovation and risk-based.
- Proportionate and adaptable.
As it stands today, the U.K. leads Europe and is third in the world for levels of private investment in AI after domestic firms attracted $4.65 billion in 2021. Recent government research on AI activity in U.K. businesses suggests that by 2040, more than 1.3 million U.K. businesses will be using AI, investing more than £200 billion—approximately $242 billion—in the process. Since publishing the strategy in September 2021, the government has announced various investments in the sector, including funding for new AI and data science scholarships, in addition to opening up new visa routes to encourage workers to come to the U.K.