A group of finance and technology companies have called for UK regulators to refrain from placing aggressive regulation on artificial intelligence (AI), claiming it is too early to define the emerging technology. 

The news follows UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s speech on 26 October, outlining the risks surrounding AI and stating that world leaders should hold back from regulating the tech before it was fully understood. 

The Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority said discussions with 54 companies have led to no clear consensus on the benefits or risks associated with AI, according to a paper published on 26 October. 

According to the paper, some companies said they would like AI to be regulated under existing governance, while others said they would like to see watchdogs across the globe come together to watch over the tech. 

On Wednesday 25 October, the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s chief data, information and intelligence officer Jessica Rusu told the parliament’s science, innovation and technology committee: “I think it’s important not to get overly focused specifically on AI, AI has been evolving for quite some time.

“I think what we should be concerned about is our overarching digital infrastructure, our reliance on the cloud and those large providers, as well as cybersecurity and other risks as they emerge,” she said.

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NCC Group CTO Sian John told Verdict that AI presents “endless possibilities”, but stressed the importance of remaining prepared and resilient to the potential risks from a cyber security perspective.

“There is huge potential for the UK to become a global leader in the development and evolution of AI technologies,” John said.

“The scalability of AI presents ample opportunities for a range of sectors across the UK,” she added.

Laura Petrone, analyst at research company GlobalData, previously told Verdict that the UK was not introducing statutory regulation and instead adopting a sector-based rather than rules-based approach.

“However, other countries like China are introducing stringent rules, especially around controlling content produced by generative AI,” Petrone said.

She added that the challenge for the UK will be to stay relevant in AI despite the US and China AI rivalry and Europe setting the agenda on regulation.