UK science minister Michelle Donelan sets stance on AI development

White Paper sets out pro-innovation, light touch regulation approach.

The UK government has published a White Paper on AI, entitled A pro-innovation approach to AI regulation.

“This white paper will ensure we are putting the UK on course to be the best place in the world to build, test and use AI technology”, said Michelle Donelan MP, Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology.

Donelan said she backed the use of ‘good’ AI, and said that the White Paper is set to support innovation while providing a framework to ensure AI risks are identified and addressed. Instead of focusing on specific technologies, this framework will focus on the context in which AI is used.

Different risks

“Using a chatbot to produce a summary of a long article presents very different risks to using the same technology to provide medical advice. We understand the need to monitor these developments in partnership with innovators while also avoiding placing unnecessary regulatory burdens on those deploying AI”, Donelan said.

The comprehensive document has set out a principles-based framework for regulators to interpret and apply to AI within their remits. The UK Government listed these five principles for the development and use of AI in all sectors of the economy:

  • safety, security and robustness;
  • appropriate transparency and explainability;
  • fairness;
  • accountability and governance; and
  • contestability and redress.

While the intention is not to introduce new legislation, the UK Government hopes that these guidelines will inspire future evolution. “By rushing to legislate too early, we would risk placing undue burdens on businesses. But alongside empowering regulators to take a lead, we are also setting expectations”, Donelan added.