UK can lead ethical AI revolution, House of Lords Committee

UK can lead ethical AI revolution, House of Lords Committee

The UK is in a strong position to be a world leader in the development of artificial intelligence (AI), providing a major boost to its economy for years to come. The best way to do this is to double down on ethics, concludes a report by the House of Lords Select Committee, published today.

The UK contains leading AI companies, a dynamic academic research culture, and a vigorous startup ecosystem as well as a host of legal, ethical, financial and linguistic strengths, observes the Chairman of the Committee, Lord Clement-Jones. But AI is not without its risks. “An ethical approach ensures the public trusts this technology and sees the benefits of using it. It will also prepare them to challenge its misuse," he says. "We want to make sure that this country remains a cutting-edge place to research and develop this exciting technology. However, startups can struggle to scale up on their own. Our recommendations for a growth fund for SMEs and changes to the immigration system will help to do this. We’ve asked whether the UK is ready willing and able to take advantage of AI. With our recommendations, it will be.”

Other conclusions from the report include:

  • Many jobs will be enhanced by AI, many will disappear and many new, as yet unknown jobs, will be created. Significant Government investment in skills and training will be necessary to mitigate the negative effects of AI. Retraining will become a lifelong necessity. 
  • Individuals need to be able to have greater personal control over their data, and the way in which it is used. The ways in which data is gathered and accessed needs to change, so that everyone can have fair and reasonable access to data, while citizens and consumers can protect their privacy and personal agency. This means using established concepts, such as open data, ethics advisory boards and data protection legislation, and developing new frameworks and mechanisms, such as data portability and data trusts. 
  • The monopolisation of data by big technology companies must be avoided, and greater competition is required. The Government, with the Competition and Markets Authority, must review the use of data by large technology companies operating in the UK.
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