AI will break through in 2024

Happy New Year to all our readers! 2024 looks to be the year for AI. While we expect to see legislation – the EU AI Act was agreed at a political level in December last year – other developments will affect our lives as consumers in many practical ways.

For example, Microsoft’s Copilot, an AI chatbot based on a large language model will soon feature as a separate button on its Windows keyboards, while Google’s Bard which transforms Google Search into a conversational bot will be followed by Bard Advanced that could be locked behind a paywall.

Using AI is already common, and will be an everyday experience for most people whether at work or at home. UK Information Commissioner, John Edwards, warned at the end of last year that 2024 cannot be the year consumers lose trust in AI. The UK is not planning to legislate for the time being, but announced last November that it will set up an AI Safety Institute to test emerging types of AI. This global hub will partner with the US AI Safety Institute, and with the government of Singapore.

The ICO says that organisations that outsource the development of their AI systems remain, as data controllers, primarily responsible for ensuring that an AI system they use is capable of producing an explanation for the decisions made. Management cannot abdicate their responsibility. We as privacy professionals have an important role in creating trust with regard to processing personal data within AI applications.

The PL&B Roundtable, Ensuring Fair and Lawful AI Implementation, including speakers from the ICO and the UK government’s Office for AI, will contribute to the debate and seek models for best practice. I hope to see you in London on 23 January 2024.

Meanwhile, the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill has progressed to the House of Lords. Several tricky issues remain in this Bill, and also more generally on data protection as a fundamental right.

Laura Linkomies
Editor, Privacy Laws & Business

January 2024