Artificial intelligence: recent updates

November 15, 2023
Ash Costello


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Written by Ash Costello and Holly Joseph.

The rate at which artificial intelligence (AI) has advanced in recent years has undeniably caught the world by storm. With the development of OpenAI’s Chat-GPT, for example, we are starting to see AI shift away from a theoretical concept and move towards a tangible reality. While AI provides numerous opportunities to society, the nature and complexity of AI creates several risks, one of which is the risk to data protection and privacy rights. The possibility of such threats raises the question of how jurisdictions will regulate the use of AI.

The United States

On October 30, 2023, President Biden is issued an Executive Order on Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence. 

The Executive Order aims to establish “new standards for AI safety and security, protects Americans’ privacy, advances equity and civil rights, stands up for consumers and workers, promotes innovation and competition, advances American leadership around the world”.    It sets out the following action plan:

  • Develop New Standards for AI Safety and Security
  • Require that developers of the most powerful AI systems share their safety test results and other critical information with the U.S. government. 
  • Develop standards, tools, and tests to help ensure that AI systems are safe, secure, and trustworthy.
  • Protect against the risks of using AI to engineer dangerous biological materials.
  • Protect Americans from AI-enabled fraud and deception by establishing standards and best practices for detecting AI-generated content and authenticating official content.
  • Establish an advanced cybersecurity program to develop AI tools to find and fix vulnerabilities in critical software.
  • Order the development of a National Security Memorandum that directs further actions on AI and security. 
  • Advance Equity and Civil Rights
  • Promote Innovation and Competition
  • Ensure Responsible and Effective Government Use of AI

The Executive Order particularly aims to protect Privacy, by:

  • Prioritizing federal support towards the evolution of privacy enhancing technologies.  These techniques might include cutting-edge AI.  
  • Strengthening privacy-preserving research and technologies, such as cryptographic tools that preserve individuals’ privacy.  This will include founding a Research Coordination Network to advance rapid breakthroughs and development. 
  • Evaluating how agencies collect and use commercially available information.
  • Strengthening privacy guidance for federal agencies to account for AI risks.
  • Developing guidelines for federal agencies to evaluate the effectiveness of privacy-preserving techniques, including those used in AI systems.
  • Stand Up for Consumers, Patients, and Students
  • Support Workers

The United Kingdom

The absence of any AI-specific legislation in the King’s Speech on 7 November reveals that the UK Government is sticking to its proposed approach to AI regulation as outlined in the white paper ‘A pro-innovation approach to AI regulation’ (released in March of this year).  Instead of enacting a new legislation to govern AI, the UK Government expects existing regulators to issue guidance and regulate the use of AI in their respective sectors.

This has been seen as a disappointment by the Science, Innovation, and Technology Committee, which issued an interim report in August this year urging for a “tightly-focused AI Bill in the new session of Parliament.” The Committee believed than an AI Bill would have guaranteed that existing regulators’ powers were up to date to regulate the use of AI, as well as prevented the UK from falling behind other jurisdictions such as the EU and US.

Science, Innovation and Technology Committee Chair, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, commented: “This new session of Parliament will be the last opportunity to pass significant legislation before the General Election, and in all likelihood, before 2025. It is therefore disappointing that there is no mention of an AI Bill in today’s King’s Speech.”

The European Union

EU institutions are currently working hard to finalise the proposed Artificial Intelligence Act in time for the possible final trilogue negotiation on 6 December. Remote biometric identification was a major point of contention during the Act’s negotiations. However, the European Parliament presented a compromise proposal on 3 November, offering to lift the total ban on remote biometric identification in return for prohibited practices and exemptions.  

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