The UK does not need a single dedicated regulator for artificial intelligence but all regulators - from financial services, marketing and data protection - must adapt to the technology and the challenges their sectors face.
That is one of the key recommendations of a new report into AI and machine learning by the Committee on Standards in Public Life, which also highlights that work on a new regulatory framework has yet to tackle all the issues.
Committee chair Jonathan Evans said it was clear that the public needs greater reassurance about the use of AI in the public sector as it was too difficult to find out where machine learning is currently being used in government.
Evans said that the UK’s regulatory and governance framework for AI in the public sector had "notable" deficiencies and remained a "work in progress".
He did praise the work of the Office for AI, the Alan Turing Institute, the Centre for Data Ethics & Innovation, and the Information Commissioner’s Office which he said were all "commendable" but called for practical guidance and enforceable regulation on transparency and data bias.
Evans added: "We conclude that the UK does not need a new AI regulator, but that all regulators must adapt to the challenges that AI poses to their specific sectors. We endorse the Government’s intentions to establish the Centre for Data Ethics & Innovation as an independent, statutory body that will advise government and regulators in this area.
"Explainable AI is a realistic and attainable goal for the public sector - so long as public sector organisations and private companies prioritise public standards when they are designing and building AI systems.”
The recommendations made by the committee state that all public bodies using AI to deliver front line services must comply with the law surrounding data-driven technology and implement clear, risk-based governance for their use of AI.
The Government is also being encouraged to use its purchasing power in the market to set procurement requirements that ensure private companies developing AI services for the public sector address public standards.
Evans concluded: "This new technology is a fast-moving field, so government and regulators will need to act swiftly to keep up with the pace of innovation. By ensuring that AI is subject to appropriate safeguards and regulations, the public can have confidence that new technologies will be used in a way that upholds the Seven Principles of Public Life as the public sector transitions into a new AI-enabled age."