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Artificial Intelligence – What to expect in 2024

2023 was a year of rapid developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) with ChatGPT’s launch bringing Generative AI into the mainstream, setting records as the fastest growing consumer application of all time. Other tools followed and ‘AI’ was named word of the year by Collins Dictionary.

However, the rapid integration of AI into various sectors has raised important considerations for regulators and policymakers around the world – including security, safety, regulation, and standards - while capitalising on the opportunities that AI presents.

Our AI Team regularly publishes updates and insights. As a starting point on how the AI revolution is transforming every sector, please take a look at our AI Business Guide.

For our top tips for business in the UK and Middle East to mitigate risks associated with AI please see our articles:

Here is a snapshot of what to expect in 2024:

EU AI legislation

  • Artificial Intelligence Act: A political agreement was reached in December 2023 between the European Parliament and the Council after extended negotiations. The approved final text is expected in early 2024.

For more information please read our article; EU AI Act – Will it become a law for all the world?

  • AI Liability Directive: Set to become law in 2024, the EU AI Liability Directive will complement the EU's Revised Product Liability Directive, also expected in 2024.

AI legislation UK

  • The recent King's Speech made no reference to an AI Bill, with the Government maintaining its pro-innovation and sector-led regulatory approach. It seems unlikely that dedicated UK AI legislation will follow in 2024, although we need to keep an eye on the debates around the Private Members’ Artificial Intelligence (Regulation) Bill.
  • However, we expect a response from the Government on the AI white paper in early 2024, hopefully detailing a regulatory roadmap as promised in the White Paper. We anticipate that regulatory guidance, in accordance with the White Paper's five principles, will follow in 2024.
  • What effect would a change of government have on these plans?  Labour has indicated that it plans to regulate AI technology, to harness the benefits of AI while addressing the risks and to build public trust in AI.

US AI legislation

  • The AI Executive Order set deadlines for agencies and regulators and proposed to impose obligations on companies to test and report on AI systems. In 2024 it is expected we will see accelerated efforts of government action to enact AI regulation as a result of the Order.

Rest of the world

  • We expect continued international collaboration in 2024 as momentum builds following the AI Safety Summit in the UK, the UN’s proposed AI advisory body and the G7’s Hiroshima Process Guiding Principles published at the end of 2023. For more on the AI Safety Summit read our article; Deciphering the Bletchley Declaration and White House Executive Order.

Litigation - Cases to watch

Whilst the US leads the way in terms of AI-related litigation, the UK is seeing a number of interesting cases.

  • Getty Images v. Stability AI: Image licensor Getty alleges infringement of copyright in images used by Stability to build and promote AI system Stable Diffusion.

For a discussion around the complex copyright questions raised by AI please take a look at our two-part article:

Artificial Intelligence trends to watch

Governance and Data Protection: As companies integrate AI into products and processes, robust internal governance policies will be needed to manage risks related to the use of proprietary and confidential information, as well as of customer and employee personal information.

Cybersecurity: AI technology will increasingly generate cybersecurity challenges and privacy risks that companies utilising AI systems must manage.

Commercial Contracts: A focus not only on AI-specific contracts but also on AI clauses in commercial contracts such as supply agreements.

Employment: The challenges of use of AI in employment decisions and employment-related laws.

Litigation: The use of AI during the litigation process and by the judiciary.

Consumers and Financial Services: Recognising AI’s potential impact on consumers, the FCA’s responsibility to ensure the safe and responsible adoption of AI in financial services was recently the subject of a speech at the AI regulation Summit 2023. The FCA’s Principles for Business and the Consumer Duty require financial services firms to play a positive role in delivering good outcomes for retail customers. The Bank of England, PRA and FCA also published a feedback statement in October 2023 FS/2/23 “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning” which summarises the responses to their initial discussion paper of October 2022. The regulators agree a regulatory definition of AI would not be useful. Their principal focus would seem to be consumer protection based, but there is a recognition of wider risks including interconnectivity between AI systems and market manipulation. Further work will be done by the regulators and their 2023/24 business plan noted that “Responses to the discussion paper will allow the supervisory authorities to explore how best to address the above issues in a way that is aligned with our statutory objectives, provides clarity, is actionable, and makes a practical difference for consumers, firms, and markets.” This work will include coordination with other bodies such as the Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum (DRCF) and international developments from other regulators.

We will be publishing further updates during 2024.

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