• At Kemp Little, we are known for our ability to serve the very particular needs of a large but diverse technology client base. Our hands-on industry know-how makes us a good fit with many of the world's biggest technology and digital media businesses, yet means we are equally relevant to companies with a technology bias, in sectors such as professional services, financial services, retail, travel and healthcare.
  • Kemp Little specialises in the technology and digital media sectors and provides a range of legal services that are crucial to fast-moving, innovative businesses.Our blend of sector awareness, technical excellence and responsiveness, means we are regularly ranked as a leading firm by directories such as Legal 500, Chambers and PLC Which Lawyer. Our practice areas cover a wide range of legal issues and advice.
  • Our Commercial Technology team has established itself as one of the strongest in the UK. We are ranked in Legal 500, Chambers & Partners and PLC Which Lawyer, with four of our partners recommended.
  • Our team provides practical and commercial advice founded on years of experience and technical know-how to technology and digital media companies that need to be alert to the rules and regulations of competition law.
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  • At Kemp Little, we advise clients in diverse sectors where technology is fundamental to the ongoing success of their businesses.They include companies that provide technology as a service and businesses where the use of technology is key to their business model, enabling them to bring their product or service to market.
  • We bring our commercial understanding of digital business models, our legal expertise and our reputation for delivering high quality, cost-effective services to this dynamic sector.
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  • We understand the risks facing this sector and work with our clients to conquer those challenges. Testimony to our success is the continued growth in our team of professionals and the clients we serve.
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  • Our legal professionals work alongside social media providers and users in relation to the commercial, privacy, data, advertising, intellectual property, employment and corporate issues that arise in this dynamic sector.
  • Our years of working alongside diverse software clients have given us an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of the software marketplace, market practice and alternative negotiating strategies.
  • Working with direct providers of travel services, including aggregators, facilitators and suppliers of transport and technology, our team has developed a unique specialist knowledge of the sector
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  • Kemp Little is trusted by some of the world’s leading luxury brands and some of the most innovative e-commerce retailers changing the face of the industry.
  • HR Bytes is an exclusive, comprehensive, online service that will provide you with a wide range of practical, insightful and current employment law information. HR Bytes members get priority booking for events, key insight and a range of employment materials for free.
  • FlightDeck is our portal designed especially with start-up and emerging technology businesses in mind to help you get your business up and running in the right way. We provide a free pack of all the things no-one tells you and things they don’t give away to get you started.

Single-minded thinking needed to face singularity

The EU steps in to kick-start a meaningful discussion on legislative direction of AI

On the 12th January 2017, the Legal Affairs Committee of the EU Commission passed a report that announced the need for EU wide rules on AI and robots.  For decades the development of artificial intelligence (AI) had been stymied by the delay in the actual technology to catch-up with the theory and the science-fiction.   But this decade has seen us reach the tipping point - the technology can start to deliver on the theory – the worry has become that the law would be the delay to the development of AI.  Whilst ambiguity and lack of clarity can often generate opportunity – typically larger enterprises view uncertainty and see fear and risk – and such fear and risk causes hesitancy in uptake.  

Keen to remove the uncertainty both UK and EU legislators have both been active in the last 6 months in setting out plans to bring legal certainty to the areas challenged by AI – with different rates of progress:

  • UK: In October 2016, the Commons Select Committee for Science and Technology reported on “Robotics and artificial intelligence”.  The Committee called for a Commission on Artificial Intelligence to be established at the Alan Turing Institute to examine the social, ethical and legal implications of recent and potential developments in AI and also looked to the Government to ensure that education and training systems were optimised to better skill the future workforce
  • EU:  On the 12th January 2017, the Legal Affairs Committee of the EU Commission (with a vote of 17-2 in favour) passed a report that announced the need for EU wide rules on AI and robots.  The report marked an interesting step forward for AI within Europe as it gave some recommendations as to what the legislation of AI might look like.  These include:
  • ‘personhood’: consistent with the conclusion that Kemp Little has been making for over 2 years – for example see our seminar on AI in February 2016 -  the report noted that a legal status, perhaps akin to that granted to corporates, should be created at some point to help deal with issues of liability and ownership;
  • Agency: The creation of a European agency for robotics and AI;
  • Registration: A system of registration of the most advanced ‘smart autonomous robots’;
  • Code: An advisory code of conduct for robotics engineers aimed at guiding the ethical design, production and use of robots;
  • Insurance: A new mandatory insurance scheme for companies to cover damage caused by their robots; and
  • Driverless Vehicles’: The report notes that self-driving cars are “in most urgent need of European and global rules…Fragmented regulatory approaches would hinder implementation and jeopardise European competitiveness”.

KL Comment:  Whilst it is good to see that there was general recognition that the UK was falling behind in creating a legislative framework for AI – at the moment the UK based activity revolves around the push to greater thinking, rather than any guidance or conclusive thoughts.  The EU report starts to ‘flesh out’ how the legislators might approach the status of AI and the laws for development.  This feels like the first time a major legislative body has done so for AI at this level of granularity.  Keen ‘techies’ will note that the fundamental principles of  Isaac Asimov’s ‘Laws of Robotics’ – first articulated in 1943 – are referred to and form a basis of the proposed rules.  This reliance on 74 year old rules is either indicative of the prescient and visionary work of Asimov or shows how far we still have to go in our thinking in this area.  It is perhaps too soon to tell which…

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