Academics advise UK Parliament against implementing general AI law

Maria Nikolova

The Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence kicked off its autumn program of public evidence sessions by talking to three academics about the ‘big picture’ issues associated with AI.

LSE earnings strong ahead of merger and ‘Brexit’

The UK Parliament has been showing its interest in the area of artificial intelligence (AI) for a while. A number of inquiries and consultations have been launched, including ones on the necessity to regulate AI  and on the use of algorithms in decision-making.

Earlier this week, the Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence started its autumn program of public evidence sessions by talking to three experts about the ‘big picture’ issues associated with AI:

  • Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Professor of Computer Science, University of Southampton, and chair of the soon to be published review into artificial intelligence on behalf of the Government;
  • Professor Nick Bostrom, Director, Future of Humanity Institute;
  • Professor Michael Wooldridge, Head of Department and Professor of Computer Science, University of Oxford.

The trio gave evidence to the Committee on Tuesday. (You can view the full recording of the session on the UK Parliament TV).

Among the many questions raised during the discussion was the question of the progress made by AI over the recent years. Professor Michael Wooldridge had to explain the difference between “general AI” and “narrow AI”, stressing that general AI has not seen much of an actual progress.

“General AI is the big dream of AI. It’s the dream that you see in Hollywood, it’s the dream of conscious machines, machines that are self-aware, that may have conversations like we are having right now. And that’s a very nebulous goal. There hasn’t been any substantial progress in general AI”, Professor Michael Wooldridge said.

“All the progress in AI over the last decade which is real and substantial and exciting has been in narrow AI, which is on very narrowly focused tasks like recognizing faces”, Professor Michael Wooldridge explained.

Considering the advances of machine learning and the building of more sophisticated computer agents, the question of the possible impact of AI on the labor market was raised.

Professor Dame Wendy Hall stressed that “As with all big technological revolutions, overall, overtime, there will be more jobs created than lost. But that does not help the people whose jobs are going to be lost in the short term – anyone whose job is repetitive and can be replaced by some form of automation. That job is likely to go in the next 10-20 years”.

Asked what should be done by the lawmakers to mitigate any negative impact by AI on the labour market, she replied:

“What we should be doing in social reform is taking the opportunity to see what are the jobs that need people to do them and value these jobs.”

This echoes the stance of a number of financial services companies that have already adopted AI solutions. For instance, the CEO of Nordnet, which has recently hired a digital employee, explained that such a move would enable the human staff to do what humans do best.

In the European Union, there has been a lot of talk around the threat that AI presents to the labor market. In February this year, the European Parliament approved a resolution on robotics, with particular concerns voiced about job losses and ethical issues such as responsibility for any law violations committed by AI agents.

The problem about ethics and the possibility to somehow regulate AI was raised during the discussion on Tuesday too. The experts agreed that the necessary codes of practice already exist in numerous areas, but broader guidelines were dubbed not necessary.

Professor Michael Wooldridge said:

“AI-specific ethical guidelines, I’m not convinced is something that is particularly necessary. Nor AI law. Looking at specific areas – the data protection legislation that we have, would make sense but a general AI law – no.”

Read this next


The FX Algo Wheel, is it wheels up and ready to take flight?

by David Catterick, Sales Director, BidFX Australia

Retail FX

eToro users now can trade underlying Italian stocks

Israeli social trading and multi-asset brokerage company eToro has expanded its service offering and trading products by incorporating new markets, namely Italian stocks listed at underlying exchanges.

Digital Assets

BlackRock bets on crypto bank Silvergate despite drastic fall

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has increased its stake in Silvergate Bank, a crypto-friendly lender that counts major crypto exchanges like Coinbase and Kraken as clients.


A viewpoint from Anatoly Crachilov, CEO and Founding Partner at Nickel Digital, on SEC regulation of the digital asset sector

The SEC’s latest episode comes across as more of a PR performance rather than an act of investor protection.

Digital Assets

Tether denies receiving any loans from Celsius, the opposite is true

World’s largest stablecoin issuer, Tether dismissed reports suggesting that it received a $2 billion loan from the bankrupt cryptocurrency lender Celsius.

Institutional FX

Cboe FX volume makes strong rebound in January

Cboe’s institutional spot FX platform today announced its trading volume for the month ending January 2023, which marks a mild rebound after a steep fall in December.

Uncategorized appoints Exness alumni Mohamad Ibrahim as CEO, the multi-regulated financial services provider, has appointed Mohamad Ibrahim as the group’s newest chief executive officer (CEO).


B2Broker Integrates Match-Trader Solution to Expands Its White Label Liquidity Offering

A global provider of technology and liquidity for the FX and cryptocurrency markets, B2Broker recently announced the extension of its white label liquidity offering by merging with Match-Trader.

Digital Assets

UK launches open consultation to regulate crypto exchanges, custody, and lending

The government’s proposed measures have been informed by recent market events – including the failure of FTX – which reinforce the case for effective regulation and sector engagement.