I wrote last autumn about the European Parliament's approval of proposals for the regulation of artificial intelligence (AI), and the European Commission has now decisively picked up the legislative baton, publishing its comprehensive framework for an AI Regulation.
We'll be providing a separate, fuller summary of the Commission's proposals, but it's fair to say the new framework follows a familiar pattern of other 'international benchmark' EU regulatory regimes, most obviously the GDPR, in its far-reaching scope and consequences for breaches (for operators both within and beyond the EU's borders). It's that reach that poses important questions for policy and law-makers in the UK, as well as UK-based operators developing and selling AI solutions.
UK Parliamentary thinking, most recently reflected in the House of Lords Liaison Committee's report on AI published at the end of 2020, points to a non-interventionist approach to AI, proposing that use of and restrictions on AI technologies are addressed by sector-specific regulators rather than through overarching regulation. Given the broad, cross-sector applications of AI, wider questions of public trust, the potential for systems to be deployed in multiple contexts, as well as AI technology's inherent reliance on data - which is itself of course subject to broad UK regulation shadowing the European model - it will be interesting to see how long that consensus will hold without some form of regulatory response in the UK.
The combination of the first-ever legal framework on AI and a new Coordinated Plan with Member States will guarantee the safety and fundamental rights of people and businesses, while strengthening AI uptake, investment and innovation