The UK has proposed an approach to regulating artificial intelligence, The Register reports. The request coincides with news of a man’s suicide, which a chatbot allegedly encouraged him to commit in order to stop climate change.

The Department of Science, Innovation and Technology has launched a consultation on a white paper in preparation for the development of legislation addressing the risks inherent in the deployment of AI in society.

In the foreword to “An Approach to Regulating AI to Support Innovation”, Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology Michel Donnellan stated that the risks associated with AI can “include everything from physical harm, undermining national security, and mental health risks”.

However, the British government has rejected the risk-based approach taken by the EU, instead advocating a framework designed to “ensure that regulatory measures are proportionate to context and outcomes.”

“A heavy-handed and rigid approach can stifle innovation and slow AI adoption. That is why we set out a proportionate and pro-innovation regulatory framework. Rather than target specific technologies, it focuses on the context in which AI is deployed. This enables us to take a balanced approach to weighing up the benefits versus the potential risks.”

said Michelle Donelan.

Hundreds of computer scientists, industry leaders and artificial intelligence experts signed an open letter calling for a halt to the training of artificial intelligence systems more powerful than GPT-4 for at least six months.

Among the signatories are Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, SpaceX, Tesla and Twitter CEO Elon Musk, AI researcher and NYU professor emeritus Gary Marcus, and Grady Butch, an IEEE computing pioneer and IBM member.

“AI labs and independent experts should use this pause to jointly develop and implement a set of shared safety protocols for advanced AI design and development that are rigorously audited and overseen by independent outside experts.If such a pause cannot be enacted quickly, governments should step in and institute a moratorium”

the letter said.

The news of the passing of a law to regulate AI came with news from Belgium that a man had committed suicide, apparently after several weeks of conversation with an online chatbot based on the open-source GPT-J language model. Yesterday, the Belgian minister of digital technology said after speaking to the family that the situation was “a serious precedent that needs to be looked at very seriously”.

In the US, the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act of 2020 came into force on 1 January 2021. It aims to provide a coordinated program across the federal government to accelerate AI research and application for the nation’s economic prosperity and national security.

Whether the chatbot really provoked the man to commit suicide and whether the UK will be able to legislate on AI remains to be seen.

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