Insights Generative AI and LLMs: Chair of House of Lords’ Communications and Digital Select Committee reacts to Government’s response to report


The Chair of the House of Lords’ Communications and Digital Select Committee, Baroness Stowell, has written to the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology expressing concern about the Government’s response to the Committee’s report on generative AI and large language models (“LLMs”). Whilst Baroness Stowell thanks the Secretary of State for her engagement in the matter, she points to a “significant areas where [the Committee] believes the Government needs to go beyond its current position”.

First on the list is copyright. The letter states that the Government’s record on this subject is “inadequate and deteriorating”, and expresses concern about the limited resources being dedicated to such an important topic when contrasted with the investment in AI safety. The Committee takes objection to the Government’s position that it cannot comment on the critical matter of the application of copyright law to LLMs because of current cases before the courts. In “avoiding taking sides” and taking any meaningful action, the Committee argues that the Government is effectively endorsing tech firms’ practices. It therefore reiterates that the Government should “provide a clear view on whether the Government supports the principle of applying [copyright law] to LLMs, and whether the Government is prepared to update legislation to put the matter beyond legal doubt”.

The Committee is also concerned about the Government’s approach to market competition and regulatory capture, further issues raised in its report. As the letter explains, the consolidation of companies at the cutting edge of the market brings inherent risks to competition, and the Committee repeats its call for market competition to be an explicit policy objective “embedded within the design and review process for new policies and standards, and subject to structured internal and external critique”. On the subject of regulatory capture, the letter expresses disappointment that the Government has not yet made a public commitment to strengthen governance measures that guard against regulatory capture, given the close relationships between AI policy and technology leaders and a greater reliance on external technical expertise to inform decisions on standards and policy frameworks.

The letter concludes by stating that the Committee will continue to keep the Government’s work under close review.

To read the letter in full, click here.