In response to the CPF consultation on The Future of Deregulation & Artificial Intelligence, we received substantive submissions from 57 CPF groups, representing at least 555 members from 86 constituencies plus two Conservatives Abroad groups. Almost one-in-six (15%) of those who participated had not previously done so. Thank you to everybody who let us know their views. This was the first in a new series of consultations looking beyond the short-term political horizon to the future.
Particular congratulations to the following CPF Groups, which submitted the most noteworthy submissions:
Meriden and Solihull
Conservative Science and Technology Forum
Grantham and Stamford
Beverley and Holderness
Below is a snapshot of the top themes raised by CPF groups. A more detailed collation of responses has been sent to the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit, the Party Chairman and the CPF Chairman. As usual, we look forward to publishing a formal response to members’ ideas in due course.
Overview of Top Themes
“Human beings are social beings and excising human interaction leads to isolation and mental illness.”
CPF Groups were very supportive of the global summit on AI safety and regulation to be held in November.
Over two-in-five (41%) CPF Groups expressed concern that “we have vastly too much bureaucracy and red tape in the country, which stifles innovation and enterprise.”
Yet, CPF Groups were also concerned that “There is a real risk of government persuading itself that regulation is a greater barrier to success for British business than is the case.”
They were clear that, where regulation of AI systems is concerned, “The most sustainable solution is a market-based one.”
They would “Adopt a set of guiding principles like Australia’s 8 AI Ethics Principles.”
Over half of CPF Groups (58%) called for “greater education from early stages.”
One-third of CPF Groups (30%) believe that “GDPR already provides substantial privacy protection rights, which will extend to AI usage.”
Many expressed serious reservations about existing data collection practices.
CPF Groups called for “a recognition that industry will create new jobs, as well as shred jobs.”
They would “Engage people in lifelong learning and keep providing opportunities for people to acquire new skills,” while also recognising (in the words of the Resolution Foundation) that “Full-time education is the only form of training associated with a substantial increase in the likelihood of a positive industry change.”
Concerns for the elderly included “Fears of cashless banking.”
CPF Groups were clear that “our security infrastructure needs to understand and mitigate risks, especially bad actors resident in third countries.”
Other specific ideas included:
“Regulators should be required to produce an annual report to be considered by the relevant Parliamentary Select Committee in a public hearing.”
“All secondary legislation such as Statutory Instruments (SIs) should be scrutinised by a Commons Committee before signature, just as MEPs do in the European Parliament.”
“Require one regulation (or two) to be abolished for every new one introduced.”
“Prioritise investment to achieve full gigabit broadband coverage to enable AI advancements and skill developments and to meet the government’s target of fully connecting GigaHubs where training and digital courses can be hosted.”
“Ensure that all security-critical, digital and physical infrastructure is de-risked from the potential of sabotage, by strategic competitors and malign actors.”
“We need onshore data centres and greater energy security.”
“Norms, standards and frameworks should be established by an expert NGO such as the International Telecommunication Union in Geneva.”
 A positive industry change is defined as “working in a different industry and experiencing a 10 per cent pay boost.” (Can training help workers change their stripes? Retraining and career change in the UK, Resolution Foundation, August 2020)