New advisory service to help businesses launch AI, digital innovations - The EE

New advisory service to help businesses launch AI, digital innovations

Organisations across country will be able to demonstrate that their new artificial intelligence and digital innovations meet regulatory requirements so they can bring them to market. A new pilot scheme set to launch in upcoming year will see a number of regulators develop a multi-agency advice service providing tailored support to businesses so they can meet requirements across various sectors through new technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence).

Backed by over £2 million (€2.30 million) in UK government funding, the streamlined service is intended to make it simple for businesses to get help they need, by bringing together different regulators involved in oversight of cross-cutting AI and digital technologies. In turn, businesses will be able to take their new innovations to market responsibly and more speedily, helping to grow UK’s economy.

“Digital technology and artificial intelligence are rapidly evolving, and regulation must keep pace but we don’t want it to be at the expense of stifling the launch of new innovations that can improve our everyday lives. While safety is at the heart of our approach to regulation here in the UK, this new service will help businesses navigate the process of making sure they are compliant supporting safe and responsible innovation. We are a nation that backs businesses both big and small, and we want to make sure that as they can quickly get to grips with rules and regulations around emerging technology.” says technology secretary Michelle Donelan.

With digital technologies such as artificial intelligence needing increasingly to demonstrate compliance with a range of regulatory regimes, there is a growing need for joined-up advice across the regulatory landscape. This pilot scheme will meet business demands for coordinated support and help innovators navigate regulations, so they can spend more time developing advanced products.

The service will be run by members of Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum (DRCF), made up of the Information Commissioner’s Office, Ofcom, the Competition and Markets Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority, and known as DRCF AI and Digital Hub. The Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum came together as a voluntary collaboration in 2019, launching formally in 2020, and works to explore emerging regulatory issues which cut across remits of four regulators with goal of making it simple for industry to comply with multiple regulatory regimes.

The trial is expected to last around a year, and will assess industry take up, service feasibility and how innovators are interacting with it. Innovators and businesses requiring advice will be invited to apply in due course with DRCF expected to run a competition for innovators to outline where they need support from regulators to ensure innovative new technologies comply with cross-cutting regulatory regimes. Rewarding applications will be selected against criteria agreed jointly by regulators and department.

This announcement delivers on other commitments made as part of government’s AI Regulation white paper, including establishment of a central AI risk function within government. Over last few months, the government has moved speedily to set up central risk function within the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT). It will identify, measure and monitor present and upcoming AI risks using skills from across government, industry, and academia with a focus on exploring regulatory risks of foundation models and frontier AI.

In addition, government is working with UK regulators on how they might need to regulate technology given its cross-cutting nature and impact on various sectors many have already started work on this from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to the Office for Nuclear Regulation. The Competition and Markets Authority published it’s initial review of AI Foundation Models, which set out the opportunities and risks which foundation models could bring for competition and consumer protection.

Earlier this year UK government committed to a multiple regulator sandbox, which helps organisations work with regulators to understand how their products interact with different regulatory regimes. In recognition of importance of AI innovations that have implications in multiple sectors such as generative AI models, with the potential to expand its capability to cover multiple industry sectors over time.

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