U.K. May Unleash AI Bots Online With No Human Safeguards
(Bloomberg) -- The U.K. is considering relaxing rules around the use of artificial intelligence in its post-Brexit data regime, a move that would mark a break from the European Union.
In a 146-page consultation document published Friday, the government said it is weighing whether to scrap the right to a human review of any automated decision, such as the approval of an online loan or a recruitment aptitude test which uses pre-programmed algorithms and criteria.
The right to a human review is covered by Article 22 of the EU’s data protection regime, which was transposed into U.K. law after Brexit.
Boris Johnson’s government has been looking for ways to depart from the EU’s stance to boost economic growth and innovation. A paper co-authored by influential pro-Brexit Tory MPs in May suggested scrapping or reforming Article 22, which also restricts automated decision-making unless individuals have given explicit consent.
The Article 22 rule “makes it burdensome, costly and impractical for organizations to use AI to automate routine processes,” the paper said. “A focus should be placed on whether automated profiling meets a legitimate or public interest test.”
The EU is taking a cautious approach to AI and has drafted new legislation calling for strict constraints on the technology. Under the proposed rules, law enforcement would be banned in many scenarios from using facial recognition and other real-time biometric identification systems. High-risk applications for the technology, including those that could potentially endanger safety or fundamental rights, will be subject to strict checks.
In the consultation, the U.K. government says the need to maintain a capability for human review may “not be practicable or proportionate.” It also questions whether Article 22 is “too restrictive” considering “evolving machine learning and AI technologies.”
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