UK Government Prioritises Digital Identity and AI

The UK government has recently spotlighted digital identity and artificial intelligence (AI) as key technologies for state- supported research. Its policy document promises to reshape how the UK interacts with technology and pave the way for economic growth and a more inclusive society.

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology has released its first-ever document detailing specific areas of research interest, covering industries that it believes will be the future generators of wealth. The policy document was created to fill knowledge gaps within the agency, which was tasked last year with boosting the UK’s global position in cutting- edge technologies.

The focus on digital identity, spearheaded by the Cyber Security and Digital Identity directorate, aims to streamline processes such as age verification and employment screening while ensuring data security and privacy. By adhering to established frameworks like the UK Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework, the government is hoping to create robust standards for digital identity services.

Similarly, the investment in AI research and regulation reflects a proactive stance toward embracing innovation responsibly. By funding research centres and providing regulatory training, the government is positioning the UK as a hub for ethical AI development.

There is a note of caution amongst the upbeat appraisal of the impact that digital identity and AI will have. Questions about bias reduction in AI and accessibility of digital identity solutions will have to be addressed. The policy document acknowledges that these are not just technical challenges but practical considerations that will shape the future of technology in the country.

While the UK government’s focus on digital identity and AI is commendable, it’s essential to recognise the need for a balanced approach. Like many other analyses, the current direction appears to lean towards a digital-only infrastructure, overlooking the potential benefits of a hybrid physical-digital option. Moreover, the transition to such a model requires careful planning and consideration of various factors.

Actors in the ID and secure document industry have long accepted that it’s crucial to address these gaps and ensure that our technological advances are not only innovative but also inclusive and sustainable.