U.K. Government Wants to Lead in AI by Prioritizing Ethical Development

The United Kingdom believes artificial intelligence can be an economic driver for the country and sees itself as a long-term leader in the field, according to a new report from the government.

But more than looking solely at innovation potential, the report, produced by the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence, advocates for the United Kingdom to position itself as a nation that prioritizes ethical development of the technology.

From an overarching perspective, this means ensuring that AI is developed to help, not harm, society. This will require investing in training the workforce of the future to deal with employee displacement and otherwise mitigating potential threats before they surface.

“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.”

– Timothy Clement-Jones, chairman of the U.K. House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence

It also means protecting people’s data rights and working to prevent monopolization by encouraging competition, both through direct investment and other means, stated the report.

Timothy Clement-Jones, chairman of the committee, which was formed in June 2017, framed his recommendations around the fact that the country is positioned to be an early adopter given its strong ecosystem for startup innovation, academic research, financial investment, and legal expertise.

“We should make the most of this environment, but it is essential that ethics take center stage in AI’s development and use,” said Clement-Jones in a statement. “AI is not without its risks and the adoption of the principles proposed by the committee will help to mitigate these. 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.”

The committee chair also recommended ongoing investment into the space. He proposed a “growth fund” for startups, which “can struggle to scale up on their own,” as well as “changes to the immigration system” that will support related organizations working in United Kingdom.

The report outlines an “AI Code” and other recommendations based around various principles that the United Kingdom should to adhere to in formulating policy around the technology going forward.

READ MORE: Capgememi to Set Up RPA Center of Excellence for UK Government

These include developing artificial intelligence for the common good, protecting data rights, being transparent with the public about whenever AI is being used, clarifying liability laws regarding what party is at fault when technology malfunctions, and training the workforce to work with AI.

“We’ve asked whether the U.K. is ready willing and able to take advantage of AI,” said Clement-Jones. “With our recommendations, it will be.”

(Photo credit: mdk-solution / Pixabay)

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