House of Lords committee right to say no need for new Artificial Intelligence regulation, says author of guide to drone law

Rufus Ballaster

A City solicitor and co-author of A Practical Guide to Drone Law has backed the finding of a report published by the House of Lords Artificial Intelligence Select Committee this week that there is no immediate need for new legislation to govern the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Rufus Ballaster, a Partner at Carter Lemon Camerons LLP said: “The fear of a science fiction-style robotic rebellion aiming to end the damage humankind does to the world is surely overblown.

“Equally, ‘law’ and ‘guidance’ to reassure people that such a risk is farfetched would do no harm and indeed might facilitate greater development in the UK of the very AI innovation and roll-out which could help our economy significantly.”

He agreed with the committee’s assessment that blanket AI regulation is currently inappropriate.

“People could be forgiven for thinking that AI technologies – for which drones are a key operational issue – operate in an anarchic zone, being too new to be governed by a body of laws and regulation,” he said.

“They would, however, be very wrong. Extensive regulations exist largely for health and safety or privacy reasons and the general law of trespass, nuisance and contract all apply to AI and drones in the same way that they do to lawnmowers, go-karts, or whatever other odd things with which daily life forces us to interact.

“What has, however, been very difficult until now has been to know where to look in order to see the applicable law in England and Wales as it is scattered all over the place as original source material.

“AI is already operational in the air for small-scale freight delivery and for wide-scale surveillance, with drones relying heavily on guidance systems and analysis.”

A Practical Guide to Drone Law, by Rufus Ballaster, fellow Carter Lemon Camerons LLP Partner, Andrew Firman and consultant to the firm, Eleanor Clot aims to bring together the disparate laws and regulations governing the use of drones.