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Artificial intelligence update January 2022

17 January 2022

In December 2021 the CDEI published the second edition of its AI barometer, and in January 2022 DCMS announced a new AI standards hub. Read our summary of the key points.

CDEI publishes AI Barometer 2021

In December 2021 the CDEI (the UK government's Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation) published the second edition of its AI (artificial intelligence) barometer, which is an analysis of the opportunities, risks and challenges associated with AI and data use in the UK. The AI barometer 2021 looks into three sectors impacted by the pandemic and the "prize to be won" if data-driven technologies can be leveraged to address them:

  • recruitment and workforce management - easier access to job opportunities, personalised professional development support and the potential to reduce discrimination;
  • transport and logistics – improved energy efficiency, reduced carbon emissions and improved social mobility; and
  • education – reduced administrative burden on teachers, improved consistency of teaching and marking and scalable personalised learning, which can contribute to improved social mobility.

The key risks and barriers to responsible innovation identified by the AI Barometer include:

  • bias in algorithmic decision-making;
  • low accuracy of data-driven tools;
  • the failure of consent mechanisms to give individuals meaningful control over their data;
  • a lack of transparency around how AI and data is used; and
  • an unclear and complex regulatory landscape, which includes human rights law, with a particular focus on data protection and equality, plus emerging codes of practice and case law.

The CDEI states that it will prioritise three themes over the next year to help foster responsible innovation:

  1. Data sharing across the economy, including piloting new forms of data stewardship and governance;
  2. Public sector innovation, including the responsible development, deployment and use of AI and data across the public sector, with a focus on the most high impact use-cases; and
  3. AI assurance: the development of a strong AI assurance ecosystem to help organisations to innovate responsibly with AI and data.

The CDEI states that it has already started to address some of the challenges in these sectors, including:

  • working with the Centre for Connected Autonomous Vehicles on the legal framework needed to support self-driving vehicles;
  • working with the Recruitment and Employment Confederation on governance guidance for data-driven recruitment tools; and
  • exploring future work in education.

DCMS announces AI Standards Hub

In January 2022, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced that the Alan Turing Institute, supported by the British Standards Institution (BSI) and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), will pilot a new AI Standards Hub, which is a UK government initiative with the stated intention of shaping global technical standards for Artificial Intelligence. This forms part of the National AI Strategy, and is intended to:

  • create practical tools for businesses;
  • bring the UK’s AI community together through a new online platform; and
  • produce educational materials to help organisations develop and benefit from global standards.

In its pilot phase, the Hub will focus on:

  • growing UK engagement to develop global AI standards by bringing together information about technical standards and development initiatives;
  • bringing the AI community together through workshops, events and a new online platform to encourage more coordinated engagement in the development of standards around the world;
  • creating tools and guidance for education, training and professional development to help businesses and other organisations engage with creating AI technical standards and collaborate globally to develop these standards; and
  • exploring international collaboration with similar initiatives to ensure the development of technical standards are shaped by a wide range of AI experts in line with shared values.

As we've reported in previous issues of DWF Data Protection Insights (for example Artificial intelligence key updates), AI is a key priority at both UK and EU policy-making and industry level. We will monitor progress and report on any developments, but if you require legal support with assessing, designing and monitoring compliance with AI and data use, please contact one of our privacy specialists.


Further Reading