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Changes in store for government data and AI bodies

Michelle Donelan
Michelle Donelan
Image source: House of Commons, CC BY 3.0

The UK Government has announced changes in the names of its organisations supporting the development of data and AI technologies.

The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation is to become the Responsible Technology Adoption Unit (RTAU), while the branding of an Office for AI within the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) will dropped.

Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology Michelle Donelan explained the changes in a statement to Parliament to mark the Government’s response to the consultation on the AI regulation white paper.

She said the name change to RTAU provides a more accurate reflection of its mission in developing tools and techniques for the responsible adoption of AI.

The end of the branding of a separate Office for AI comes in recognition of AI having become central to the wider work of DSIT.

Donelan added that the department is strengthening the team working on AI in the recently established AI Policy Directorate and AI Safety Institute.

Investment in research and regulation

She also reiterated the announcement that the Government will provide over £100 million to support the development of AI and relevant regulation. This largest chunk of this – nearly £90 million – will go to nine hubs for research into specific areas, while £10 million will go to upskill regulators to address the risks and opportunities of the technology.

“The challenges posed by AI technologies will ultimately require legislative action across jurisdictions, once understanding of risk has matured,” she added.

“However, legislating too soon could stifle innovation, place undue burdens on businesses, and shackle us from being able to fully realise the enormous benefits AI technologies can bring.

“Furthermore, our principles based approach has the benefit of being agile and adaptable, allowing us to keep pace with this fast moving technology.”


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