Generative AI is revolutionizing robotics. Using generative models, robots can now augment training datasets, generate optimized path planning for applications like industrial arms and autonomous mobile robots, and learn from existing situations to better adapt more readily to new scenarios. Furthermore, generative AI helps in creating realistic 3D object models and virtual environments, which aid in the testing of robotic systems. Maybe most importantly, Generative AI is helping power interactions between robots and humans, allowing users to better control and bond with the robots. 

The recent rate of AI development has made debates regarding the governance and regulation of AI less theoretical, more significant, more complex and more urgent.  It has also generated intense interest in how public policy can and should respond to ensure that access to these tools will foster innovation for people and businesses, while upholding human rights, accountability, and societal well-being. Given that the market size of Generative AI in Robotics is projected to be worth around USD +15B by 2032 up from USD 856 M in 2022, representing a CAGR of 34.2% over the next 10 years, regulation in this area could be very impactful.

The UK government has opened an inquiry about how the government should act when regulating AI: where to start, what questions to ask, and how to build a foundation for safe AI innovation. The UK’s inquiry has so far led them to identify twelve challenges of AI governance that policymakers and the frameworks they design must meet. 

It is with those questions in mind that prompted members of the UK parliament to visit MassRobotics on Monday, September 11th, 2023.  Four of MassRobotics startups – Thinking Robots, Boundless Robotics, Cleo Robotics and International Fabric Machines (IFM), met with nine members of the UK Parliament for discussion about the future of artificial intelligence and how to regulate it. The UK delegation were interested in learning from our startups about their concerns of the impacts of possible regulations – anywhere, how they are using AI to better their robotics solutions, and the concerns they had regarding the future of AI from where they see it in their worlds.

MassRobotics is very appreciative of the thoughtful approach the UK government is taking and their openness to feedback from our start-ups. At the end of the conversation it was unanimous that everyone had learned something and it was a robust and productive dialogue.