UK to legislate on the most advanced AI ‘when the time is right’

The UK aims to be a Science and Technology Superpower by the end of the decade. The government continues to believe that a light-touch regime is the best way to achieve this – in stark contrast with the EU’s world-leading new AI Act. Issuing its response to the AI White Paper consultation on 6 February, the government also announced a £100 million package to help realise new AI innovations and support regulators’ work on AI. The government says this will help them to develop cutting-edge research and practical tools to address AI risks.

The government says it will not want to rush into legislating before it fully understands the risks and opportunities of AI. “However, the challenges posed by AI technologies will ultimately require legislative action in every country once understanding of risk has matured.” Therefore, legislation may in time be introduced for highly capable GenAI.

For now, the government continues on its pro-innovation path asking existing regulators to apply cross-sectoral principles. Regulators will need to outline their strategic approach to AI by 30 April 2024.

In the meantime, organisations need to tackle practical problems such as revising privacy notices in light of using AI and automated decision making. AI is also a game-changer in staff selection and recruitment. Amongst all the challenges, we can celebrate the renewed adequacy decisions for Guernsey, Jersey and Isle of Man, and the modest reliefs to companies’ subject access compliance burden, as proposed in the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill.

Laura Linkomies
Editor, Privacy Laws & Business

March 2024