The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (“Committee“) recently published its findings following an inquiry into robotics and artificial intelligence (“AI“) in March 2016.

The published report examines the potential value and capabilities of robotics and AI, as well as legal issues and adverse consequences to consider in this area. In particular, it considers data privacy and consent issues, as well as discussions around accountability and liability.

The Committee’s conclusions and recommendations include the following:

  • Governance – standards and regulations: A suitable governance framework is necessary to regulate and standardise robotic applications. This includes a proposed standing Commission on Artificial Intelligence to develop principles governing the development and application of AI techniques, as well as advising the Government on any regulation required. The governance framework will need to be assessed on a regular basis in light of legal, ethical and societal issues that arise, to ensure the framework remains effective.
  • Education and skills: There is a need to re-skill and up-skill on a continuing basis given the potential impact of robotics and AI on the UK workforce. The Committee suggests that the Government publishes its Digital Strategy as soon as possible and commits to sufficiently flexible education and training systems that take account of these changes in workforce demands.
  • Research, funding and innovation: The Government needs to establish a Robotics and Autonomous Systems Leadership Council as soon as possible to provide co-ordination and direction in this field, as well as produce a strategy setting out the Government’s ambitions and financial support for the area.

The report also highlights that robotics and AI are already being considered as part of more mainstream legislative debates – in particular, in this year’s Queen’s Speech, the Government announced that the Modern Transport Bill aims to put “the UK at the forefront of autonomous and driverless vehicles ownership and use”.

Please click here for a copy of the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence House of Commons Select Committee Report.

Miriam Everett
Miriam Everett
Head of Data Protection and Privacy, London
+44 20 7466 2378
David Coulling
David Coulling
Partner, TMT, Sourcing and Data, London
+44 20 7466 2442