What do I need to know about the proposed legal framework around artificial intelligence?

Published on:
April 17, 2023

Artificial Intelligence is quickly transforming how businesses and individuals operate, leading to advances in various fields such as retail, education, healthcare, finance, transportation, and manufacturing. However, as AI continues to evolve and become increasingly complex, it raises significant legal questions for businesses that use it.

This blog will share how you can navigate compliance with the law and avoid potential legal issues around AI. By understanding the legal landscape of AI, you can navigate the legal challenges of this new technology and minimise any associated risks.

What is considered AI?

Artificial Intelligence refers to developing computer systems that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as problem-solving, decision-making, learning, and natural language processing.

Although there are various categories of AI, such as reactive machines, limited memory, and theory of mind, three main types are widely recognised. These types of AI are Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI), Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), and Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI).

ANI, also called "weak AI," is engineered to perform specific tasks like voice or image recognition. At the same time, AGI also referred to as "strong AI," is designed to imitate human intelligence and can adapt and learn beyond its initial programming. ASI, on the other hand, is a theoretical future AI system that is projected to surpass human intelligence and solve complex problems beyond our comprehension. In practical terms, AI is implemented in various applications, including virtual personal assistants, image and speech recognition systems, self-driving vehicles, fraud detection systems, and recommendation engines.

What is the proposed legal framework around artificial intelligence?

As artificial intelligence continues to advance exponentially, it's becoming increasingly clear that we need a comprehensive legal framework to address this technology's ethical and social implications. Such a framework would establish guidelines for developing and using AI, ensuring that it doesn't harm society or infringe on people's rights.

With AI's increasing use and development in society, many have proposed legal frameworks to govern its use and development. Areas of focus have included:

  • Ethical guidelines: Many governments and organisations have proposed ethical guidelines for AI development and suggested that the focus should be on ensuring that AI is developed and used in a transparent, impartial, and balanced way.
  • Data protection and privacy: AI systems rely on large amounts of data to function, and there are concerns about data protection and privacy. Proposed legal frameworks aim to regulate how AI systems collect, store, and use data.
  • Liability: As AI systems become more autonomous, questions around liability arise. Proposed legal frameworks aim to clarify who is responsible for any harm caused by an AI system.
  • Intellectual property: There are also questions about intellectual property related to AI. Proposed legal frameworks aim to clarify ownership and protection of AI-generated works.

These legal frameworks are still in the early stages of development and are likely to evolve as AI advances and becomes more prevalent in society.

How is AI currently regulated in the UK?

In the UK, the use and development of AI are regulated by a combination of existing laws and regulations, such as data protection and consumer protection laws, as well as specific guidelines and initiatives related to AI.

The UK government has also issued guidelines and initiatives related to AI, such as the AI Code of Conduct, which provides ethical guidelines for developing and using AI.

The UK government has also proposed legislation, such as the Online Safety Bill, which aims to regulate online harms and address issues related to AI-generated content.

However, as AI regulation is a new and rapidly evolving field, it's expected that regulatory frameworks in the UK and elsewhere will continue to grow to keep pace with technological advancements and societal concerns.

What are the legal issues related to artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is a rapidly evolving technology that brings new legal issues. One of the significant legal challenges is the issue of liability. The more autonomous AI systems become, the more challenging it becomes to determine who is liable when these systems cause harm.

There are also many other legal concerns, such as:

  • Privacy and data protection as AI relies on personal data to function.
  • Bias and discrimination in AI systems, particularly in law enforcement and hiring areas.
  • Intellectual property, with questions arising around ownership of data used to train AI systems and ownership of AI-generated works.
  • Cybersecurity, as AI systems, can be vulnerable to cyber-attacks and data breaches, leading to various potential harms.

As AI evolves, regulatory frameworks must adapt to address these legal issues.

What do I need to know about the proposed legal framework around AI in the UK?

Whilst it’s still evolving, the government is being proactive in its response to regulating AI to ensure that AI is developed and used safely and transparently.

Albeit, in its early stages, the government's framework for AI will likely include:

  • AI regulation: the government wants to establish a new regulatory body, the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, to oversee the development and use of AI.
  • Transparency: businesses using AI will need to be transparent about how their algorithms work to prevent them from being used in a biassed way.
  • Liability: the government wants to establish new rules to show who is responsible if something goes wrong with an AI system, meaning that developers or users could be held accountable for any harm caused by using it.
  • Intellectual property: the government is assessing how to protect intellectual property rights if something is generated by AI.

Will my business be affected by the proposed legal framework around artificial intelligence?

Undoubtedly, your business will likely be affected by the proposed legal framework around artificial intelligence. The exact extent of the impact will depend on the nature of your business and how it uses AI technology.

For example, if your business relies heavily on AI for decision-making or data analysis, you may be subject to increased scrutiny around issues such as bias and privacy. Additionally, if your business collects and uses large amounts of personal data, you may be subject to stricter regulations around data protection and cybersecurity.

Other potential ways that the legal framework around AI could impact your business are:

  • Compliance requirements: depending on the specific regulations and guidelines put in place, your business may need to comply with specific requirements related to the development, deployment, and use of AI.
  • Liability considerations: if your business develops or uses AI, you may need to consider issues related to liability, such as who is responsible if an AI system causes harm.
  • Intellectual property: if your business develops AI technologies, you may need to consider issues related to intellectual property, such as who owns the data used to train AI systems and who owns the intellectual property rights to AI-generated works.
  • Data protection: if your business collects and uses personal data as part of its AI operations, you may need to comply with regulations related to data protection and privacy regulations.
  • Discrimination: if your business uses AI in decision-making processes, you may need to ensure that your systems are free from bias and discrimination.

It's important to remember that the regulatory landscape around AI is still evolving, and it's not yet clear how specific regulations and guidelines will be implemented or enforced. However, staying informed about the legal issues related to AI can help your business prepare for potential regulatory changes and ensure that your operations comply with relevant regulations.


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