Artificial Intelligence

(asked on 9th May 2023) - View Source

Question to the Department for Science, Innovation & Technology:

To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of concerns expressed by (1) Dr Geoffrey Hinton, and (2) other employees of Google and Microsoft, reported in the New York Times on 7 April, about the risk AI technologies are being introduced before the risks can be fully assessed.

Answered by
Viscount Camrose Portrait
Viscount Camrose
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
This question was answered on 22nd May 2023

In March 2023, the Office for AI published a white paper on AI regulation. The framework proposes a proportionate, collaborative approach to AI regulation, and aims to promote innovation while protecting the UK’s values. The AI regulatory framework will ensure government is able to adapt and respond to the risks and opportunities that emerge as the technology develops at pace.

As part of the development of the AI regulation white paper, government officials heard from over 130 stakeholders, including civil society groups like trade bodies, unions, and rights focused groups, as well as academics and UK and global businesses at the forefront of AI development. This engagement included a focus on ensuring that the regulatory framework would be adaptable and responsive to emerging risk. Additionally in May 2023 our Secretary of State and I met with Dr Hinton to discuss AI risks and opportunities, and the role of government. The government is also working with international partners to address AI risks while promoting the UK’s values, including through key multilateral fora, such as the OECD, the G7, the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI), the Council of Europe, and UNESCO, and through bilateral relationships.

While direct regulation of AI will remain the responsibility of existing regulators in order to ensure a context-based approach focused on outcomes, government recognises the significance of cross-sectoral risks associated with AI. The AI regulation white paper therefore proposed a range of new central functions, including functions intended to improve government's ability to anticipate, assess and respond appropriately to emerging risks such as:

  • Horizon scanning to identify and monitor emerging trends, risks and opportunities in AI.

  • Cross-sectoral risk assessment to develop and maintain a cross-economy, society-wide AI risk register to facilitate structured assessment of cross-cutting risks and allowing effective, coherent mitigation planning.

  • Monitoring and evaluation to ensure that the overall regulatory framework for AI is achieving its policy objectives and is future proof and adaptable.

These central functions - together with others as set out in the white paper - will complement the existing work conducted by regulators and other government departments to tackle risks arising from AI.

Government understands that a collaborative approach is fundamental to governments’ and policy-makers’ ability to tackle AI risk and support responsible AI development and use for the benefit of society. As set out in the white paper, we will continue to convene a wide range of stakeholders - including frontier researchers from industry - to ensure that we hear the full spectrum of viewpoints. The UK’s continued leadership and cooperation in international debates on AI will also enable the development of a responsive and compatible system of global AI governance, allowing us to work together on cross-border AI risks and opportunities. This breadth of collaboration will be integral to the Government's ability to monitor and improve the framework, ensuring it remains effective in the face of emerging AI risks.

We are in a formal consultation period for the AI regulation white paper and encourage anyone interested to respond before 21 June.

Reticulating Splines