This browser is not actively supported anymore. For the best passle experience, we strongly recommend you upgrade your browser.
| 1 minute read

Is the UK rethinking its approach to regulating AI?

Two months is a long time when it comes to AI. The UK government confirmed it had no plans to introduce AI-specific legislation in February as we discussed here.  Now, however, there are reports that work has begun on draft legislation, most likely to address issues relating to large language models rather than AI applications themselves.

According to the Financial Times, details are thin on the ground but there is speculation that the government may seek to make current voluntary agreements to submit large language model (LLM) algorithms to a safety assessment process mandatory. There are also suggestions that the UK will consider amending copyright legislation to allow organisations and individuals to opt out of allowing LLMs to scrape their content.    

We are certainly a long way off actual draft legislation, and of course we expect a general election, probably in autumn 2024. The outcome of that may well be a change of government, potentially leading to revised AI policy.

So why the change in approach now? Prime Minister Sunak has been adamant that the UK will not rush to regulate AI and a spokesman confirmed that this remains the government's policy. However, the global mood on AI has been changing as safety concerns increase. The EU is already leading the way. Its AI Act has almost completed the legislative process with only a few formalities remaining before its publication. It will then take three years to apply in full but some obligations will apply from six months and others from a year after it comes into force. Is the UK seeking to catch up with what the EU likes to think will be global standard setting legislation? Or has it become more sceptical about realising the goal of a global arrangement? Perhaps the upcoming AI Safety Summit in France will provide more insight.

The UK government is beginning to craft new legislation to regulate artificial intelligence, months after the prime minister vowed “not to rush” setting up rules for the fast-growing technology.


technology media & communications, artificial intelligence & machine learning