Did you utilize AI to write down this tender? What? Simply asking! — Additionally, how will you utilize AI to ship this contract? — The best way to Crack a Nut Defend Cyber

Extra usually, the AI PPN is sure to be controversial and has already spurred insightful dialogue on LinkedIn. I’d advocate the posts by Kieran McGaughey and Ian Makgill. I provide some extra ideas right here and stay up for persevering with the dialog.

In my opinion, one of many potential points arising from the AI PPN is that it goals to cowl fairly a couple of completely different points of AI in procurement, in addition to neglecting others. Barely simplifying, there are three broad areas of AI-procurement interplay. First, there may be the difficulty of shopping for AI-based options or providers. Second, there may be the difficulty of tenderers utilizing (generative) AI to write down or design their tenders. Third, there may be the difficulty of using AI by contracting authorities, eg in relation to qualitative choice/exclusion, or analysis/award selections. The AI PPN covers points of . Nevertheless, it’s not clear to me that these could be handled collectively, as they pose considerably completely different coverage points. I’ll attempt to disentangle them right here.

Shopping for and utilizing AI

Though it primarily cross-refers to the Pointers for AI procurement, the AI PPN consists of some content material related to the procurement and use of AI when it stresses that ‘Industrial groups ought to pay attention to current steerage when buying AI providers, nonetheless they need to additionally bear in mind that AI and Machine Studying is changing into more and more prevalent within the supply of “non-AI” providers. The place AI is probably going for use within the supply of a service, industrial groups could want to require suppliers to declare this, and supply additional particulars. This may allow industrial groups to think about any extra due diligence or contractual amendments to handle the influence of AI as a part of the service supply.’ That is an enough and probably useful warning. Nevertheless, as mentioned beneath, the PPN suggests a solution to go about it that’s in my opinion fallacious and probably very problematic.

AI-generated tenders

The AI PPN is nonetheless largely involved with using AI for tender era. It recognises that there ‘are potential advantages to suppliers utilizing AI to develop their bids, enabling them to bid for a larger variety of public contracts. You will need to be aware that suppliers’ use of AI is just not prohibited through the industrial course of however steps ought to be taken to know the dangers related to using AI instruments on this context, as can be the case if a bid author has been utilized by the bidder.’ It signifies some potential steps contracting authorities can take, resembling:

  • ‘Asking suppliers to reveal their use of AI within the creation of their tender.’

  • ‘Enterprise applicable and proportionate due diligence:

    • If suppliers use AI instruments to create tender responses, extra due diligence could also be required to make sure suppliers have the suitable capability and functionality to fulfil the necessities of the contract. Such due diligence ought to be proportionate to any extra particular threat posed by way of AI, and will embody website visits, clarification questions or provider displays.

    • Extra due diligence ought to assist to determine the accuracy, robustness and credibility of suppliers’ tenders by using clarifications or requesting extra supporting documentation in the identical manner contracting authorities would strategy any uncertainty or ambiguity in tenders.’

  • ‘Probably permitting extra time within the procurement to permit for due diligence and a rise in volumes of responses.’

  • ‘Nearer alignment with inner clients and supply groups to carry larger experience on the implications and advantages of AI, relative to the subject material of the contract.’

In my opinion, there are a couple of problematic points right here. Whereas the AI PPN appears to attempt to not single out using generative AI as probably problematic by equating it to the doable use of (human) bid writers, that is unconvincing. First, as a result of there may be (to my data) no steerage in any respect on an evaluation of whether or not bid writers have been used, and since the AI PPN itself doesn’t require disclosure of the engagement of bid writers (o places any thought on the truth that third-party bid writers ma have used AI with out this being identified to the hiring tenderer, which might then require an extension of the disclosure of AI use additional down the tender era chain). Second, as a result of the strategy taken within the AI PP appears to level at potential issues with using (exterior, third-party) bid writers, whereas it doesn’t appear to object to using (in-house) bid writers, probably by a lot bigger financial operators, which appears to presumptively not generate points. Third, and most significantly, as a result of it reveals that maybe not sufficient has been executed to date to deal with the potential deceit or provision of deceptive data in tenders if contracting authorities should now begin enthusiastic about the right way to get expert-based evaluation of tenders, or develop fact-checking mechanisms to make sure bids are truthful. You’ll have thought that whatever the origin of a young, contracting authorities ought to be capable of verify their content material to an enough stage of due diligence already.

In any case, the largest difficulty with the AI PPN is the way it suggests contracting authorities ought to take care of this difficulty, as mentioned beneath.

AI-based assessments

The AI PPN additionally means that contracting authorities ought to be ‘Planning for a common improve in exercise as suppliers could use AI to streamline or automate their processes and enhance their bid writing functionality and capability resulting in a rise in clarification questions and tender responses.’ One of many prospects could possibly be for contracting authorities to ‘combat fireplace with fireplace’ and in addition deploy generative AI (eg to make summaries, to scan for errors, and so on). Apparently, although, the AI PPN doesn’t instantly check with the potential use of (generative) AI by contracting authorities.

Whereas it features a reference in Annex A to the Generative AI framework for HM Authorities, that doc doesn’t particularly deal with using generative AI to handle procurement processes (and what it says about shopping for generative AI is redundant given the opposite steerage within the Annex). In my opinion, the generative AI framework pushes strongly in opposition to using AI in procurement when it identifies a collection of use instances to keep away from (web page 18) that embody contexts the place high-accuracy and high-explainability are required. If that is the federal government’s (justified) view, then the AI PPN has been a missed alternative to say this extra clearly and instantly.

The broader difficulty of confidential, categorised or proprietary data

Each in relation to the procurement and use of AI, and using AI for tender era, the AI PPN stresses that it might be obligatory:

  • ‘Setting up proportionate controls to make sure bidders don’t use confidential contracting authority data, or data not already within the public area as coaching information for AI programs e.g. utilizing confidential Authorities tender paperwork to coach AI or Giant Language Fashions to create future tender responses.‘; and that

  • ‘In sure procurements the place there are nationwide safety issues in relation to make use of of AI by suppliers, there could also be extra concerns and threat mitigations which might be required. In such cases, industrial groups ought to interact with their Info Assurance and Safety colleagues, earlier than launching the procurement, to make sure proportionate threat mitigations are applied.’

These are points that may simply exceed the technical capabilities of most contracting authorities. It is vitally arduous to know what information has been used to coach a mannequin and financial operators utilizing ‘off-the-shelf’ generative AI options will hardly be ready to evaluate themselves, or present any significant data, to contracting authorities. Whereas there could be contractual constraints on using data and information generated below a given contract, it’s far more difficult to evaluate whether or not data and information has been inappropriately used at a unique hyperlink of more and more complicated digital provide chains. And, in any case, this isn’t solely a difficulty for future contracts. Knowledge and data generated below contracts already in place is probably not topic to enough information governance frameworks. It will appear {that a} extra muscular strategy to auditing information governance points could also be required, and that this shouldn’t be devolved to the procurement perform.

The best way to take care of it? — or the place the PPN goes fallacious

The most important weak spot within the AI PPN is in the way it suggests contracting authorities ought to take care of the difficulty of generative AI. In my opinion, it will get it fallacious in two alternative ways. First, by asking for an excessive amount of non-scored data the place contracting authorities are unlikely to have the ability to act on it with out breaching procurement and good administration rules. Second, by asking for too little non-scored data that contracting authorities are below an obligation to attain.

An excessive amount of data

The AI PPN consists of two potential (different) disclosure questions in relation to using generative AI in tender writing (see beneath Q1 and Q2).

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