Excessive hopes however little motion for public sector AI use regulation via procurement within the UK Authorities’s ‘Professional-innovation Strategy’ response — Crack a Nut – Cyber Information

The UK Authorities has just lately revealed its official response (the ‘response’) to the general public session of March 2023 on its ‘pro-innovation method’ to AI regulation (for an preliminary dialogue, see right here). The response exhibits little or no motion from the unique method and proposals and, regardless of claiming that important developments have already taken place, it primarily gives a governmental self-congratulatory narrative and restricted high-level particulars of a regulatory structure nonetheless very a lot ‘underneath building’. The publication of the response was coupled with that of Preliminary Steering for Regulators on Implementing the UK’s AI Regulatory Ideas (Feb 2024), which I’ll remark in a subsequent submit.

A piece of specific curiosity within the response refers to ‘Making certain AI finest follow within the public sector’ (at 21-22), which makes direct reference to the usage of public procurement and the train of public sector shopping for energy as a regulatory lever.

This part describes some measures being put in place or deliberate to grab ‘the alternatives introduced by AI to ship higher public companies together with well being, training, and transport’, similar to:

  • tripling the variety of technical AI engineers and builders throughout the Cupboard Workplace to create a brand new AI Incubator for the federal government’ (para 41).
    That is an fascinating dedication to constructing in-house functionality. It will nevertheless be fascinating to know whether or not these are new or reassigned roles, in addition to how the method of recruitment and retention is faring, given the large difficulties evidenced within the current evaluation by the Nationwide Audit Workplace, Digital transformation in authorities: addressing the obstacles to effectivity (10 Mar 2023, HC 2022-23, 1171).

  • The federal government can be utilizing the procurement energy of the general public sector to drive accountable and secure AI innovation. The Central Digital and Information Workplace (CDDO) has revealed steerage on the procurement and use of generative AI for the UK authorities. Later this yr, DSIT will launch the AI Administration Necessities scheme, setting a minimal good follow normal for firms promoting AI services. We’ll seek the advice of on introducing this as a compulsory requirement for public sector procurement, utilizing buying energy to drive accountable innovation within the broader financial system’ (para 43).
    That is additionally an fascinating aspiration, for a number of causes. First, the GenAI steerage could be very generic and solely highlights pre-existing (additionally very generic) steerage on how you can perform procurement of AI (see screenshot under). This may hardly be seen as a significant growth of the prevailing regulatory framework. Second, the announcement of an ‘AI Administration Necessities’ scheme appears to be mirrored on the ‘Cyber Necessities’ scheme within the space of cyber safety, regardless of important variations and the a lot greater degree of complexity that may be anticipated from an ‘all-encompassing’ scheme for the administration of the myriad dangers generated by the deployment of AI.

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