In the first of a series of blogs from our global offices, we provide a overview of key trends in artificial intelligence in the UK.
What is the UK’s strategy for Artificial Intelligence?
AI is a central part of the UK’s industrial strategy and the UK has a national strategy for AI, an AI “sector deal” and a national data strategy. The Government aims to maintain the UK’s position as a key location for scientific and research centres by increasing annual public investment in AI R&D from £11.4 billion (currently) to £22 billion by 2024–2025.
The UK Government has established the Office for Artificial Intelligence to implement the national strategy for AI, the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation to promote trustworthy use of data and AI (such as coordinating discussions with the national health service, standard setting bodies, etc.), the AI Council (an expert committee of independent members set up to provide advice to the Government and high-level leadership of the AI ecosystem) and the Digital Catapult to accelerate industry adoption of digital technology.
Which are the leading UK research institutions for Artificial Intelligence?
The Alan Turing Institute is the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence. It is collaborating with lawmakers and regulators on AI-related guidance (e.g. on Explainable AI). The Institute was founded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford, UCL and Warwick. The universities of Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Queen Mary University of London, Birmingham, Exeter, Bristol, and Southampton have subsequently joined.
What laws and regulations is the UK developing for Artificial Intelligence?
Some existing UK laws and regulations include provisions of direct relevance to AI, such as:
- Privacy requirements in relation to disclosing and explaining the use of automated decision making;
- Copyright protection for computer generated literary, musical, dramatic and artistic works and designs;
- Exceptions to copyright infringement for “text and data mining”; and
- Insurance requirements for autonomous vehicles.
The UK Government is consulting on changes to IP law and privacy law to encourage AI innovation. The UK is, in part, motivated to differentiate itself from the emerging EU proposals for AI. It is also looking at trials of autonomous vehicles, public procurement of AI, online harms, online targeting, insurance, deepfakes and misinformation, facial recognition, digital assistants and the labour market.
Various UK Government departments and regulators are looking at new rules and guidance for AI, e.g. the Ministry of Justice, the Law Commission, Department of Transport, the Civil Aviation Authority, the Information Commissioner, the Competition and Markets Authority, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the National Health Service.
Which are the leading UK companies for Artificial Intelligence?
The UK is home to significant AI companies, including DeepMind and BenevolentAI. The Beauhurst data platform currently lists the top 50 UK AI companies by total amount of equity investment as:
Where to get advice on Artificial Intelligence law and regulation
Gowling WLG has a global team of lawyers advising on all aspects of AI law and regulation. See our service page on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Law for more details.
About the author(s)
Matt Hervey is Head of Artificial Intelligence (UK) at Gowling WLG (UK) and advises on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and IP across all sectors, including automotive, life sciences, finance and retail. Find out more about Matt Hervey on the Gowling WLG website. He is co-editor of The Law of Artificial Intelligence (Sweet & Maxwell).