The UK is preparing to relax further data mining laws to support its thriving AI business.
We all know that data mining is crucial to AI development. Tech companies are in a good position since they already have enormous datasets or have the resources to sponsor or pay for the needed data. The majority of startups rely on data mining to launch.
Data mining laws are under a change to make UK more “competitive”
The data-mining laws in Europe are infamously rigorous. While detractors claim that data mining laws like GDPR drive innovation, investment, and employment out of the Eurozone and towards nations like the USA and China, proponents of such laws contend that they are required to safeguard consumers.
This week’s announcement outlines the intellectual property support the UK will provide for its National AI Strategy.
Following a two-month cross-industry consultation session with individuals, large and small firms, and a variety of organizations, the announcement was made by the nation’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
Researchers can use text and data mining (TDM) to copy and use various datasets for their algorithms. The UK claims in the release that it will now permit TDM “for any purpose,” which offers much more freedom than the 2014 exception, allowing AI researchers to utilize such TDM for non-commercial purposes.
In striking contrast, a TDM exception is exclusively provided for scientific research under the EU’s Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.
“These changes make the most of the greater flexibilities following Brexit. They will help make the UK more competitive as a location for data mining firms,” explained the IPO.
Can we count AI systems as inventors?
The UK maintains its earlier positions elsewhere, notably that AI systems cannot be given credit for the patent invention.
The instance of US-based Dr. Stephen Thaler, the creator of Imagination Engines, is the most well-known one in this area. Dr. Thaler has been at the forefront of the movement to acknowledge machines as creators.
Dr. Thaler’s AI creation DABUS was utilized to develop various products, including a food container with improved grip and heat transfer.
After Dr. Thaler’s applications were submitted in the nation by Ryan Abbott, a professor at the University of Surrey, a federal court in Australia decided in August 2021 that AI systems can be recognized as inventors under patent law. Identical applications were also submitted in the US, New Zealand, and the UK.
The UK’s IPO denied the requests at the time because only people can be recognized as inventors under the country’s Patents Act. Later appeals were similarly denied.
“A patent is a statutory right, and it can only be granted to a person. Only a person can have rights. A machine cannot,” said Lady Justice Liang.
The IPO reiterates in its most recent statement:” For AI-devised inventions, we plan no change to UK patent law now. Most respondents felt that AI is not yet advanced enough to invent without human intervention.”
According to the IPO, the UK is one of just a few nations that protects computer-generated works. The rights to a computer-generated work belong to whoever makes “the arrangements essential for the creation of the [computer-generated] work” for 50 years following the creation.
The aim is to boost the AI industry
With pioneers like DeepMind, Wayve, Graphcore, Oxbotica, and BenevolentAI, the UK has emerged as Europe’s powerhouse for AI despite being subject to stringent data mining laws. For instance, the EU AI Act is under progression toward regulating the future of artificial intelligence. The nation’s top universities produce more sought-after AI talent and tech investments than any European nation.
In general, the UK is consistently ranked as one of the top countries in the world to start a business. All eyes are on how the nation will use its freedoms to deviate from EU regulations after Brexit to strengthen its industry further.
“The UK already punches above its weight internationally and we are ranked third in the world behind the USA and China in the list of top countries for AI. “We’re laying the foundations for the next ten years’ growth with a strategy to help us seize the potential of artificial intelligence and play a leading role in shaping the way the world governs it,” explained Chris Philp, DCMS Minister.
There will surely be discussions over the UK’s decisions to advance its AI business, particularly concerning TDM. Still, the policies published so far will encourage entrepreneurship and the nation’s attractiveness for pertinent investments. Some others are defending the creation of a “Tech NATO.”
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