'Wait and See' AI Regulation dominates halls of Westminster

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The government's 'wait and see' AI regulation has become the dominant focus in the halls of Westminster as MPs are becoming frustrated by a lack of regulation over the potential 'existential threat'.

The Government themselves labelled the threat 'existential', however many critics have warned that there has been a lack of urgency towards AI regulation and no stringent regulatory frameworks.

So far, the government has opted for a decentralised regulatory model in a bid to support existing regulators as opposed to creating a new regulatory body, which the Prime Minister claims supports the UK's innovation drive and aims of being a global science and technology superpower.

Lord Chris Holmes argued: "There's an increasing number of people and an increasing discussion around the need for right-sized, pro-innovation regulation."

"I don't think 'wait and see', which is largely the government's response, should be seen as an option. If you take that, you will always be 'waiting and seeing' with new technologies by their very nature. But you've got to leader, you've got to show leadership and you've got to get involved; stake a position."

Policymakers will have their first opportunity to have a full debate on AI regulation when the second reading of the AI regulation bill takes place in March. While the Financial Conduct Authority, Bank of England, Ofcom and other regulators are due to deliver their official approaches to AI by the end of April.

Responding to the news, Henry Balani, Global Head of Industry and Regulatory Affairs, Encompass Corporation: "Collaboration between the Government and industry is essential to developing and strengthening the UK's regulatory framework, generally and around AI specifically, so it is encouraging to see ministers looking to empower regulators while maintaining a pro-innovation focus.

"AI undoubtedly holds exciting potential. Within financial services, it has a role to play in accelerating existing processes and augmenting the work of Know Your Customer (KYC) analysts, for example, supporting faster and more comprehensive financial crime risk detection. Technology continues to be vital, with real-time digital KYC profiles ensuring robust compliance and continued efficiency."

"As the country's key decision-makers continue to assess the impact and potential of AI, it is important they consider effective regulation without restricting innovation, taking a proactive approach that enables the technology available to be utilised safely and to potential."

Oseloka Obiora, CTO, RiverSafe said: "The risk of AI being is increasing, especially when related to cyber threat. We know that it is a top priority for hackers to access and manipulate AI to steal personal data and create havoc, so it is important that government and regulators don't sit back and let that happen. It is important that the government creates a stringent regulatory framework for AI to protect against the threats imposed rather than waiting to see what happens. It is about balancing a cautious approach to mitigate cyber risks, with ensuring businesses are empowered to continue driving innovation."

This follows the first meeting of the AI Opportunity Forum led by Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan and the Prime Minister's Special Adviser on Business and Investment. The Forum's mission is to boost the adoption and development of AI in the private sector to help unlock new opportunities and boost productivity.

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