Artificial Intelligence: Regulation

Lord Bassam of Brighton Excerpts
Tuesday 14th November 2023

(5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Asked by
Lord Bassam of Brighton Portrait Lord Bassam of Brighton
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To ask His Majesty’s Government, following the action taken by the United States in respect of regulating artificial intelligence, including the recent signing of an Executive Order, whether they have plans to introduce similar provisions in UK law.

Viscount Camrose Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (Viscount Camrose) (Con)
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In the AI regulation White Paper we set out our first steps towards establishing a regulatory framework for AI. We are aligned with the United States in taking a proportionate, context-based and evidence-led approach to AI regulation. The White Paper did not commit to new legislation at this stage. However, we have not ruled out legislative action in future as and when there is evidence of substantial risks, where non-statutory measures would be ineffective.

Lord Bassam of Brighton Portrait Lord Bassam of Brighton (Lab)
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My Lords, I am a little disappointed in the Minister’s response, but we welcome the discussions that took place at Bletchley Park. While the Prime Minister says he will not rush to regulate, as the Minister knows, other jurisdictions— the US and the EU—are moving ahead. Labour in government would act swiftly to implement a number of checks on firms developing this most powerful form of frontier AI. A Bill might not have been in the King’s Speech, but that does not mean that the Government cannot legislate. Will the Minister today commit to doing so?

Viscount Camrose Portrait Viscount Camrose (Con)
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The Government are by no means anti legislation; we are simply anti legislation that is developed in advance of fully understanding the implications of the technology, its benefits and indeed its risks. This is a widely shared view. One of the results of the Bletchley summit that the noble Lord mentioned will be a state-of-the-science report convened by Professor Bengio to take forward our understanding on this, so that evidence-based legislation can then as necessary be put in place. As I say, we feel that we are very closely aligned to the US approach in this area and look forward to working closely with the US and others going forward.