Communications and Digital Committee launches inquiry into large language models

July 10, 2023

The House of Lords Communications and Digital Select Committee is launching an inquiry that will examine large language models and measures needed over the next one to three years to ensure the UK can respond to their opportunities and risks. This will involve evaluating the work of government and regulators, examining how well this address current and future technological capabilities, and reviewing the implications of approaches taken overseas.

There are growing calls to improve safeguards, standards and regulatory approaches that promote innovation whilst managing risks. Many experts say this is increasingly urgent. The UK government released its AI White Paper in March 2023. It highlighted the important of a “pro-innovation framework designed to give consumers the confidence to use AI products and services, and to provide businesses the clarity they need to invest in AI and innovate responsibly”.

The Committee is seeking evidence on the following questions:

Capabilities and trends

1. How will large language models develop over the next three years?

  • Given the inherent uncertainty of forecasts in this area, what can be done to improve understanding of and confidence in future trajectories?

2. What are the greatest opportunities and risks over the next three years?

  • How should we think about risk in this context?

Domestic regulation

1. How adequately does the AI White Paper (alongside other government policy) deal with large language models? Is a tailored regulatory approach needed?

  • What are the implications of open-source models proliferating?

2. Do the UK’s regulators have sufficient expertise and resources to respond to large language models? If not, what should be done to address this?

3. What are the non-regulatory and regulatory options to address risks and capitalise on opportunities?

  • How would such options work in practice and what are the barriers to implementing them?
  • At what stage of the AI life cycle will interventions be most effective?
  • How can the risk of unintended consequences be addressed?

International context

1. How does the UK’s approach compare with that of other jurisdictions, notably the EU, US and China?

  • To what extent does wider strategic international competition affect the way large language models should be regulated?
  • What is the likelihood of regulatory divergence? What would be its consequences?