In an effort to contribute to the ongoing discourse surrounding Artificial Intelligence (AI), W Legal’s Digital Assets Team responded to the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology’s (DSIT) White Paper proposals on AI regulation. W Legal answered a series of comprehensive questions posed by the Government, highlighting important considerations, and suggesting further measures to ensure transparency, contestability, and redress in the rapidly evolving field of AI technology.
The White Paper titled ‘A Pro-Innovation Approach to AI Regulation’, published on 29 March 2023, proposed a number of key advancements in order to embrace growth and prosperity, build the UK’s position as a global leader in AI and place regulators in a leading position behind the regulation of AI. The White Paper builds on a previous policy paper titled ‘Establishing a Pro-Innovation Approach to Regulating AI’ published in July 2022 as well as the recently published paper in March 2023 by Sir Patrick Vallance (UK Chief Government Scientific Adviser) considering Pro-innovation approach to AI regulation.
The White Paper suggested that the following principles are particularly relevant in guiding regulators such as the ICO, the CMA, the FCA, OFCOM, the Health and Safety Executive and the Human Rights Commission, in their approach towards AI risks:
- Safety, security and robustness;
- Appropriate transparency and explainability;
- Accountability and governance; and
- Contestability and redress.
To a large extent, W Legal agreed with the DSIT’s proposed future developments, specifically concerning their commitment to promote disclosure in circumstances where AI is present. However, W Legal went a step further by emphasising the need for a proactive legislative approach that goes beyond mere disclosure. While disclosing the use of AI is an important step, organisations should also clearly communicate the nature of AI involvement, the type of processing occurring, and whether decisions are solely automated.
W Legal proposed further transparency measures not suggested in the White Paper, such as the creation of an industry standard logo indicating AI involvement in process/service provided, accompanied by a link providing detailed information about the impact and risks associated with AI. This will likely increase public trust which has been shown to be a significant driver of AI adoption.
Regarding contestability and redress for AI-related harms, W Legal acknowledged the existing legal remedies available but stressed the need for further guidance and pro-active engagement from regulators. Clearer best practice principles, a supervising authority, and sector-specific redress routes are needed to ensure effective resolution of AI-related issues and harms. To address capability gaps and applying the principles effectively, W Legal supported the idea of a pooled team of AI experts, drawing from industry, tech firms, academia, professions, and government regulators.
W Legal commented on the revised cross-sectoral principles proposed by the DSIT, highlighting the necessity of a detailed legislative framework to reinforce the principles’ robustness, accountability, and contestability elements. Further clarification in areas such as regulatory sandboxes, intellectual property, and defamation laws is needed.
In terms of regulatory implementation, W Legal agreed that introducing a statutory duty on regulators to have due regard to the principles would clarify and strengthen their mandates. Regulators should be provided with investigatory powers, the ability to impose penalties, and the authority to publish reports on good and bad behaviours. W Legal also further highlighted the importance of non-regulatory tools for trustworthy AI, such as general education about AI, industry standards for trustworthy AI, and AI impact assessments conducted by organisations to evaluate potential risks and societal implications.
The Digital Assets Team at W Legal are very pleased to have contributed to the ‘Pro-Innovation Approach to AI Regulation’ White Paper and remain dedicated to closely monitoring the progress of the white paper and supporting businesses in navigating the complex landscape of the law’s relationship with AI.
To read the ‘AI regulation: A Pro-Innovation Approach’ White Paper in full, click here
It is important to stay updated on the latest developments, as governments, international organisations, and industry stakeholders continue to explore and establish legal frameworks to address the ethical, privacy, safety, and accountability concerns associated with AI and please do contact the Digital Assets Team at W Legal to follow up in this AI area and related areas and we will be happy to discuss, review and offer training in these fast developing regulatory and compliance areas.
If you have any queries or would like to meet for an introductory conversation around these topics, please contact W Legal Limited
Elliot Shear at firstname.lastname@example.org
David Ellis at email@example.com