The UK Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) released its 2019/20 Work Programme and Two-year strategy to enhance the benefits of data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the UK society and economy on 20 March 2019.

What’s in scope?

CDEI is an advisory body founded by the UK government and is led by an independent board of experts. For the next two years, CDEI plans to shape a policy, regulatory and cultural environment in the UK that promotes constructive and ethical innovation in data and AI-driven technology. CDEI benefits from a prime spot to use the know-how and expertise of the UK, a country recognised as a global leader in data-enabled technology.

Under its two-year strategy, CDEI’s main objectives are to:

a. Promote policy and governance that enables data-driven technology to improve people’s lives;

b. Ensure the public’s views inform the governance of data-driven technology;

c. Ensure the governance of data-driven technology can safely support its rapid development (this means not only addressing issues from recent years but also continuing to be alert to emerging problems); and

d. Foster effective partnerships between civil society, government, research organisations and industry players.

What tangible actions will CDEI take?

The following practical steps are listed in CDEI’s Terms of Reference:

1. Analyse and anticipate risks and opportunities for strengthening ethical and innovative uses of data and AI. This step will be achieved through a number of activities, such as: convening communities to share knowledge, participating in networks of experts to collate latest research and views, monitoring developments and publications, commissioning priority research, reviewing existing regulatory measures and engaging directly with the public. Expected outputs will include: (i) a comparative analysis of opportunity and risks to be published by Autumn 2019, (ii) responsive thematic projects focusing on specific issues or sectors, the first of these to be published by Summer 2019, and (iii) a ‘2020 State of the Nation report’.

2. Identify and agree best practice for the responsible use of data and AI. This will be achieved through in-depth reviews. In the first instance, these reviews will focus on two priority areas: (i) online targeting (to be published in December 2019) and (ii) algorithmic bias (to be published by March 2020).

3. Advise the government on actions to enable safe and ethical innovation in the use of data and AI. This will be achieved by bringing together businesses from different sectors and industries, stakeholders (NGOs, think tanks, academia and independent experts, the UK government, Parliament, regulators and international governments and agencies) and the public. CDEI will work particularly close with the UK AI Council, the Office for AI and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The end goal will be to create practical recommendations for the UK government and provide advice for regulators in respect of potential gaps in regulation.


CDEI will play a pioneering role in influencing how data and AI are used, today and in the future. Its freshly released Two-year strategy and 2019/20 Work Programme show its solid commitment, not only through listing general principles, but through actual practical engagements. This is the time for organisations and businesses to get involved – their input will be instrumental in shaping this new landscape.