From March to May 2023, ART-AI student Cat Gray was seconded as a policy advisor to the UK government’s Office for AI (part of the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, DSIT). Her main objective was the development of an internal policy paper advising on AI life cycle accountability – identified in the government’s AI regulation white paper as an issue in need of further evidence.
Cat and her lead supervisor, Emma Carmel, also codesigned a technical workshop with OAI, with input from Bath’s Institute for Policy Research. The workshop formed part of the government’s formal consultation process for the AI regulation white paper. It was one of only a few invitation-only workshops to tackle a specific, legally and technically complex topic. This built on previous policy engagement work, including an invitation-only roundtable on AI governance last September.
During the secondment, Cat was able to participate fully in team meetings at OAI and gain a deep understanding of the relevant policymaking processes. Having insider’s access enabled Cat to gain vital contextual information needed to produce advice that would be coherent with other policies.
The placement enabled new relationships to be built between central government and multiple key academic researchers at Bath and elsewhere. Cat and Emma were also able to introduce new bodies of evidence to policymakers, including sociological and legal research on AI supply chains and liability. Based on feedback from OAI, the work undertaken during the secondment helped shape government thinking on AI regulation.
Cat has also been invited to share her PhD research outputs with the team at OAI. Emma (and others from Bath) were invited to present at a masterclass for more than 50 members of the senior civil service across all departments, and ran a session on AI technologies in the public sector for staff from BEIS. Emma and Cat look forward to further engagement with OAI in future.