In January 2022, DLA Piper reported on an announcement of a new initiative, as part of the UK’s National AI Strategy, to shape the way organisations and regulators develop technical standards for artificial intelligence (“AI”). The initiative, the AI Standards Hub (“Hub”), was highlighted as a collaborative effort between the Alan Turing Institute, the British Standards Institution, and the National Physical Laboratory, in partnership with the UK Government, to lead the way in developing standards that could be used across all sectors and jurisdictions.

On 12 October, in their latest update, the Alan Turing Institute announced that the hard work of the collaborators was finally complete and that the Hub was ready for interaction. While still early in its use, the Hub already contains an array of resources that will allow its users to understand and help shape the role of standards in the development of AI and best practices.

The mission of the AI Standards Hub

The primary goal of the Hub is to advance trustworthy and responsible AI through a focus on standards that can be used as part of governance and innovation tools and mechanisms.

It aims to do so by bringing together industry leaders, governments, regulators, consumers, society stakeholders, and academia into a collective area in which they can:

  • foster debate on AI standardisation and the development of standards;
  • inform and strengthen AI governance practice domestically within the UK, as well as internationally;
  • further involvement of various stakeholders in the development of standards; and
  • provide a cohesive means in which published standards on AI can be assessed.

As the Hub notes, in pursuit of this missions, it expects participants involved to assist in:

  • adopt a global perspective and engage with relevant initiatives around the world to further a coordinated and cohesive approach to standards;
  • emphasise stakeholder inclusiveness and give special consideration to stakeholder segments that are often overlooked during the development of standards, such as SMEs; and
  • promote interdisciplinarity to ensure that AI standardisation efforts benefit from all relevant expertise and incorporate ethics to further innovation in a way that is socially beneficial.

The Four Pillars of Standardisation

The Hub structures itself around four key pillars which reflect the various features of the Hub’s interactive platform as well as its internal programme and activities.

Pillar 1: Observatory

The Hub features several interactive libraries that “function as an observatory for AI standardisation”. In effect, the purpose of this pillar is to provide users of the Hub a searchable dossier of standards in their varying stages of development.

Additional libraries available to users will also keep track of documents and publications of relevance to standards, such as government strategies, roadmaps, and regulatory requirements for AI.

Pillar 2: Community and Collaboration

The Hub is expected to serve as a platform to enable connections, coordination between stakeholders, and exchanges of ideas and collaboration. This pillar is to be built and strengthened on a foundation of workshops, live events, and online discussion forums to encourage collaboration. It is anticipated that this will allow stakeholders to identify priorities and challenges as we push towards a consensus on best practices.

Pillar 3: Knowledge and Training

The Hub also acts as a resource for developing skills and knowledge, as well as simply catalogue it. Learning materials and in-person training events will regularly be posted for its users to ready them to actively participate in collaborations with other users as their work requires.

It is also expected that these resources will include procedural knowledge on how standards are developed (for those seeking to become more involved in their creation) as well as substantive material on best practices and AI more generally.

Pillar 4: Research and Analysis

The final pillar of the Hub focuses on strategic questions of AI and standardisation. It is anticipated that this research aspect of the Hub will assist in shaping the direction of which standards are developed and inform wider stakeholder thinking of the role of standards within the wider context of AI governance. It is expected that this work may emerge in the form of surveys, gap analyses, and policy recommendations.

Find out more

For more information on AI and the emerging legal and regulatory standards in the UK, Europe, and abroad visit DLA Piper’s focus page on AI.

You can find a more detailed guide on the AI Regulation and what’s in store for AI in Europe in DLA Piper’s AI Regulation Handbook.

To assess your organisation’s maturity on its AI journey in (and check where you stand against sector peers) you can use DLA Piper’s AI Scorebox tool.

You can find more on AI, technology, and the law at Technology’s Legal Edge, DLA Piper’s tech-sector blog.

DLA Piper continues to monitor updates and developments of AI and its impacts on industry in the UK and abroad. For further information or if you have any questions, please contact the author or your usual DLA Piper contact.