Tech Round-Up: November 2023

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Welcome to our Tech round-up, where we provide a snapshot of the latest legal-tech-related news.

Our round-up covers topics such as the AI Safety Summit, Self-Driving Vehicles, the Autumn Statement and much more.

 AI Safety Summit

  • The UK held the first global AI Safety Summit at the beginning of November to consider the risks of AI and how such risks can be mitigated through a joint global effort. The major talking points to come out of the 2-day summit were:
  • 28 countries (including heavyweights such as the US, China and the EU) signed the Bletchley Declaration – establishing a joint global understanding of the opportunities and risks posed by AI development and the need to collectively manage such risks and ensure AI is developed and deployed in a safe and responsible manner;
  • Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the new AI Safety Summit, which shall be tasked with testing the safety of new and emerging AI and assessing the potentially harmful capabilities; and 
  • The UK announced a major investment (£225 million) into a new super-computer called Isambard-AI, which is intended to achieve breakthroughs across healthcare, energy, climate modelling and other fields. It forms part of the UK's initiative to lead in AI while partnering with allies like the US. 

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Tech Round Up November 2023

Impact of AI on Creative Industries

  • On 20 November 2023, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer held a roundtable discussion with leaders across the music and film sectors (attendees included heavyweights such as Universal, Warner and Getty Images) to discuss and explore the challenges and opportunities which AI presents to the creative industries.
  • Key discussion points included:
    • Concerns about copyrighted material being used without permission to train AI models such as ChatGPT;
    • The risk that AI-created content can potentially infringe on artists' intellectual property rights; and 
    • The Intellectual Property Office's work to develop a code of practice on copyright and AI. 

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Impact of AI on Creative Industries

Regulation of AI

  • On 23 November 2023, Conservative peer, Lord Holmes, introduced a Private Members' Bill (PMB) to the House of Lords to make provision for the regulation of artificial intelligence. The main purpose of the PMB is the establishment of a central AI Authority to oversee the regulatory approach to AI. If enacted, the AI Authority would:
  • Undertake various co-ordination and monitoring functions, including conducting an AI gap analysis of current legislation and collaboration on regulatory sandbox development;
  • Have regard to the principles set out in the AI regulatory white paper, promote transparency, freedom from bias, and ensure the regulatory burden is proportionate to the risk of an AI system; and 
  • Recommend that AI developers appoint an AI officer and promote obligations around labelling and intellectual property, including requiring a record of training data to be provided to the AI Authority.

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Regulation of AI

Self-Driving Vehicles

  • The Automated Vehicles Bill, which is aimed at regulating the use of automated vehicles, was introduced into Parliament on 8 November 2023 and is set to deliver one of the most comprehensive legal frameworks globally for self-driving technology. Transport Secretary Mark Harper said, "the new Bill will ensure safety is at the heart of the plans to see self-driving vehicles on our roads and to make the UK a great place to develop this technology". Safety and protection of the users shall be achieved through:
    • Creating a rigorous new safety framework: setting the safety threshold for self-driving vehicles in law while giving the government the tools it needs to enforce standards and hold companies to account;
    • Ensuring clear legal liability at all times: making companies responsible for how their self-driving vehicles behave on the road and protecting users from being unfairly held accountable; and 
    • Protecting consumers and the public: ensuring only vehicles that meet rigorous self-driving standards can be marketed.

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Self Driving Vehicles

Autumn Statement

On 22 November 2023, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt made several announcements affecting the Technology, Media and Telecoms sectors, including in relation to supporting the growth of SMEs through the use of advanced digital technologies, the government's investment into developing AI and quantum computing, and the launching of an AI Safety Institute and a pilot AI regulatory sandbox.

Hunt also announced that the government had published a call for evidence on recent trends in the visual effects industry, informing the design of additional tax relief for expenditure on visual effects, which the government intends to deliver through the Audio-Visual Expenditure Credit.

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Autumn Statement

ICO Warning

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has issued a warning to some of the UK's most visited websites that they may face enforcement action if they do not bring the options for accepting cookies on their sites in line with data protection law.

The ICO has published guidance requiring that websites make it as easy for users to choose to reject all cookies as it is for them to choose to accept all cookies.

However, several websites have not yet provided this.

The ICO has, therefore, written to these companies and given them 30 days to ensure compliance with the law.

The ICO has also stated that it will provide a broader update on its work in this area in January 2024.

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ICO Warning

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