16th January 2017

Birgitte Andersen


Big Innovation Centre (BIC) has just been appointed as the Secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Artificial Intelligence, in Parliament. Starting this January 2017 the strategy will be set now and it is anticipated it will run for 2 years 

It is a cross-political party group to be focused on the economic and social impact of AI and evidence gathering for better policy. One early aim is to build a fit for purpose intangible economy infrastructure with respect to policy and regulation around AI and machine learning. 

The APPG group on AI will, for example, address ethical issues and emerging / new industry norms and routines (and rules) when applying Artificial Intelligence to machine learning, decision making, natural language understanding, automated reasoning, autonomous systems and more. Without being too technical, how will AI impact financial, health and energy transactions and knowledge-intensive business services and how should it be regulated? How will consultancy, insurance, and legal service be traded and how should the new business models be regulated? What about the associated data? There is a lot to explore and evidence is key for regulation and policy. Of course, the participants will learn a lot from each other at the same time, so it will be fascinating to take part. The group will set many other topics and priorities. 

Use cases 

As part of Big Innovation Centre’s vision, we focus on how disruptive innovations can deliver a positive future for 2025. We are now focusing on Artificial Intelligence. 

With increasingly integrated supply chains (business to business trade) and the emergence of the intangible economy in which end consumers are opting to rent rather than buy/own, how will automation and artificial intelligence conceptually change the way we think about trade and ownership? Also, with digital technologies making it easier for data to be shared more than ever before, what is holding us back, and what are the benefits of embracing the sharing economy in this increasingly connected world of new forms of trade ‘commons’? (see Future of Trade use-case (i) below) 

Focus is also on how the use of personal and business data increasingly compels the ethical dimensions of data use to be addressed. Whether transport, health or energy or even smarter day to day living it has become ever more obvious that the capacity to transfer decision making to automated, AI driven machines that have their own capacity to learn – and in some decades time perhaps a capacity to think simulating conscious human beings (although this is disputed) - raises massive ethical questions. (see Data Charter use-case (ii) below) 

(i) The Future of Trade with Artificial Intelligence and Automation.

- How good is your supply chain? 

Big Innovation Centre believes international trade transactions are set to be transformed with the emergence of automation and artificial intelligence. But how automation and artificial intelligence are disrupting how trade is conducted is still unknown. 

For millennia, commerce has focused on exchange of physical goods, natural products, machines, and human capital. More recently, services, knowledge based skills and patents have become an ever-increasing component of world trade. Also, contactless payments and mobile transactions are diminishing the role of cash. As consumers and business’ further embrace technology will physical cash become redundant? Are cryptocurrencies closer to being the future, global monetary standard and, if so, what is the future of banks? 

How will businesses adapt and embrace technologies that will likely create new supply chains and fluid, personalised marketplaces using real-time data? As Unilever’s Director of Commercial Alliances & Supplier Innovation said at The Innovators Board in Big Innovation Centre (24 October 2017): “I though you cannot digitalize “chicken soup” – but you can – automation, data use and digitalization of the entire business to business supply chain and its relationship with the customers has transformed how trade is conducted”. 

What is happening in the market place, and in particular sectors? 

1. Financial transactions (e.g. bitcoin, PayPal and blockchain) – How will these digital currencies impact on the financing of trade? 

2. Knowledge-intensive business services - How will artificial intelligence and automation transform how consultancy, insurance and legal service are traded? 

3. Energy and clean technology services - With improved solar harvesting and increasing demand for electricity and smart grids, how will this impact the way energy is traded? 

4. Fast moving consumer goods - With the regular replacement and disposable nature of many of our modern goods (such as furniture, consumer electronics, chicken soup(!)), what are the new forms of trade relations from ownership to renting or upgrading? 

5. Technology transfer and IP commerce – How will commercial trade in scientific knowledge and IP become automated and standardized? Even how Innovate UK wants to transact R&D grants, IP and technology will be affected by automation and artificial intelligence. 


(ii) A Data Charter

- What should be done with personal and business data? 

Companies deploying AI are going to have to create mechanisms to manage the ethical dilemmas; at the very least introducing purpose statements, stakeholder panels and appeal systems that go well beyond today’s pilot processes. For example, Deep Mind is confronting and creating such processes now. However, this needs to be done in a wider context in which basic ground rules about data ownership and use are established legally. We recommend the introduction of a ‘Data Charter’ on what can be done with personal and business data, including ‘Fair Use’ & an “Opt-In Unless You Opt-Out” approach to data disclosure. 

The greatest opportunities from ideas and ‘big data’ require links across organisational boundaries. The data and IP rights regime needs to be reframed to foster the open innovation and sharing revolution, encouraging citizens, companies, universities and government to open up to each other and to co-create new technologies and business models. This means that IP and big data policy must shift from ownership rights and data protection issues to governing the uses of IP and data. We need a ‘privacy commons’ for business and society and a ‘charter’ on what can be done with personal and business data. 

  • By introducing a ‘Charter’ on what can be done with personal and business data, everyone will know how their data is used, which in turn increases trust and creates incentives to allow data to be shared. This means a shift from policies around controlling the use of data to how data use is governed. 
  • Such a Charter should also introduce ‘fair use’ of personal and business data clearly establishing that data can be used if you are not competing with the owners of the data or harming their ability to monetise it. This would create a truly free space to innovate by supporting entrepreneurship from the data revolution. 
  • The Charter should also adopt an ‘opt-in unless you opt-out’ approach to personal and business data disclosure to maximise the public good of data being widely shared. Just as there is no point in being the only one with a telephone or on Facebook, the opportunity from personal data can best be exploited when it is widely if not universally shared. A charter on how business can deploy private data will empower each citizen from birth to be born into a data sharing revolution. 



  • What topics do you think the Parliament should consider when building a fit for purpose intangible economy infrastructure with respect to policy and regulation around AI and Machine Learning? 


Taking part in the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Artificial Intelligence (#FuturewithAI)

  • Do you want to take part? 
  • You could participate as an ‘observer’ at all the evidence-giving meetings in the House of Commons, where AI thought leaders and industry stakeholders are invited to give evidence. 
  • There will be other activities and events as applicable, and high-level networks across AI industry stakeholders, Members of Parliament, and thought leaders. 
  • We plan research to underpin evidence-based policy on AI. 
  • There will be an APPG on AI advisory board.