The UK Office for Product and Standards has published a study on the impact of Artificial Intelligence on product safety. The objective of the study was to examine the current and forecast future impacts of AI in consumer products, and what this means for product safety.
The main findings highlight challenges regarding the scale and dynamics of the market for AI powered consumer goods, the main barriers to adoption (cost, privacy and awareness), and both opportunities and challenges for product safety. The study identifies potential material and immaterial harms resulting from the challenges posed by the specific characteristics of AI technology. The conclusions note that “many of these risks are theoretical in nature and evidence of real life examples of harm caused by AI consumer products is limited”.
Regarding the challenges for the regulatory framework for product safety and liability, the study concludes that the current framework is sufficient for many AI products. However, in the case of more complex AI systems and considering technological and market changes, the legal definitions and the scope of the current legislation is challenged. This could translate into lack of legal certainty for AI developers and manufactures of AI driven consumer products. There is also a need to improve the skills and knowledge of regulatory bodies on AI.
Developers Alliance was one of the stakeholders invited to contribute to this important research which will inform policymakers’ work on the implementation of UK’s National AI Strategy.