UK Weighs AI Regulation: Is Mandatory Algorithm Sharing on the Horizon?

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Key Takeaways

  • British government drawing up plans to regulate artificial intelligence, with focus on LLMs.
  • UK regulator sends warning on AI market, with “real concerns” of a monopoly acting in self-interest.
  • UK Prime Minister has spoken on need to wait before adopting approach, including laws.

The UK government has commenced its approach to legislate AI, focusing on large language models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT

A report states that, with growing concern about the scale of influence from rapidly evolving technology, a government department is acting to mitigate the potential for harm.

According to well-placed sources, officials at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) have started drafting regulations to address the pertinent issue. At present, no bill is expected in the short term, with British lawmakers set to take soundings from an international AI conference to be held in France by early 2025.

UK legislation is expected to limit the power and proliferation of LLMs, but what the laws would entail or their scale is unknown. One suggestion is that big tech responsible for the most significant AI models be compelled to share their algorithms with the government and adhere to safety protocols.

The Financial Times quoted a DSIT spokesperson on plans, with concerns ranging from AI’s harms in reinforcing prejudice against certain demographics to the overall inherent risk posed by the technology.

“Officials are exploring moving on regulation for the most powerful AI models,” said one person familiar with developments, while another source added that the department is “developing its thinking” on the construction of AI regulation.

The regulator is also cognisant of the risk factor, which will grow and evolve, just like AI’s capability.

Sarah Cardell, the chief executive of the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, commented on “real concerns” of a possible monopoly emanating from a few cutting-edge tech firms.

Cardell warned those companies “may have both the ability and the incentive to shape these markets in their own interest.” She outlined a connection of more than 90 working relationships and strategic partnerships involving tech giants such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft, and Nvidia.

UK’s Stance on AI Regulation: Timeline

So far, the UK government has positioned itself to fully understand and evaluate the AI sector before legislating on it. In the post-Brexit landscape, the UK is keen to explore the scope for growth and development in the sector while being wary that stringent legislation, as introduced in the EU, could be counterproductive.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a speech on AI last October that the UK’s answer was not to rush to regulate:

“How can we write laws that make sense for something that we don’t yet fully understand?”