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AI regulatory gap analysis a welcome first step towards addressing AI governance challenges, says Committee Chair

6 February 2024

Following the publication of a command paper setting out the Government’s plans for artificial intelligence (AI) regulation, the Chair of the Science, Innovation and Technology Committee, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, has welcomed further details of its intended approach.

The Committee has been undertaking a high-profile inquiry examining the governance of AI. In an interim Report published last August, the Committee identified Twelve Challenges of AI Governance for policymakers and has examined the emerging regulatory approaches of the UK, European Union, and United States. The Twelve Challenges were:

  1. The Bias challenge. AI can introduce or perpetuate biases that society finds unacceptable.
  2. The Privacy challenge. AI can allow individuals to be identified and personal information about them to be used in ways beyond what the public wants.
  3. The Misrepresentation challenge. AI can allow the generation of material that deliberately misrepresents someone’s behaviour, opinions or character.
  4. The Access to Data challenge. The most powerful AI needs very large datasets, which are held by few organisations.
  5. The Access to Compute challenge. The development of powerful AI requires significant compute power, access to which is limited to a few organisations.
  6. The Black Box challenge. Some AI models and tools cannot explain why they produce a particular result, which is a challenge to transparency requirements.
  7. The Open-Source challenge. Requiring code to be openly available may promote transparency and innovation; allowing it to be proprietary may concentrate market power but allow more dependable regulation of harms.
  8. The Intellectual Property and Copyright Challenge. Some AI models and tools make use of other people’s content: policy must establish the rights of the originators of this content, and these rights must be enforced.
  9. The Liability challenge. If AI models and tools are used by third parties to do harm, policy must establish whether developers or providers of the technology bear any liability for harms done.
  10. The Employment challenge. AI will disrupt the jobs that people do and that are available to be done. Policy makers must anticipate and manage the disruption.
  11. The International Coordination challenge. AI is a global technology, and the development of governance frameworks to regulate its uses must be an international undertaking.
  12. The Existential challenge. Some people think that AI is a major threat to human life: if that is a possibility, governance needs to provide protections for national security.

Chair's comment

Responding to the command paper, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Chair of the Science, Innovation and Technology Committee, said:

“My Committee has consistently highlighted the extent to which the Government’s preferred sectoral approach will rely on existing regulators, particularly their capacity to respond to the growing use of AI and their coordination mechanisms. 

“We called for a regulatory gap analysis in our interim Report last August and are therefore pleased that such an analysis will now take place. It is also right that in the interim the Government’s central support function delivers the necessary direction to regulators. We look forward to further updates from regulators on their implementation of the principles by the end of April, as the Government has requested. 

“We also note an acknowledgement that AI-specific legislation may be required in future, as our interim Report suggested may be the case. It is right for the Government to keep this under review, as this increasingly capable general-purpose technology continues to develop.

“In my Committee’s interim Report we identified Twelve Challenges of AI Governance, and it is our view that an effective, future-proofed AI governance framework that offers certainty and security to individuals, consumers and industry alike should address these Challenges. We will reflect further on how the Government’s approach matches up to this task in our final Report”.

Further information

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