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Lords Committee: UK can be ‘world leader’ in ethical AI

Latest report says the wider adoption of AI will deliver a major boost to the economy

A new report by the House of Lords Select Committee has found that the UK is in a strong position to lead the development of artificial intelligence (AI), providing a major boost to the economy for years to come.

One of the recommendations of the report – AI in the UK: ready, willing and able? – is for a cross-sector AI Code to be established, which can be adopted nationally and internationally.

Chairman of the Committee, Lord Clement-Jones, said: “The UK has a unique opportunity to shape AI positively for the public’s benefit and to lead the international community in AI’s ethical development, rather than passively accept its consequences. The UK contains leading AI companies, a dynamic academic research culture, and a vigorous start-up ecosystem as well as a host of legal, ethical, financial and linguistic strengths. We should make the most of this environment, but it is essential that ethics take centre stage in AI’s development and use.

“We want to make sure that this country remains a cutting-edge place to research and develop this exciting technology. However, start-ups 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.”

Recommendations made in 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.

Individuals need to be able to have greater personal control over their data, and the way in which it is used.

The monopolisation of data by big technology companies must be avoided, and greater competition is required.

The Government should be bold and use targeted procurement to provide a boost to AI development and deployment.

The Government needs to draw up a national policy framework, in lockstep with the Industrial Strategy, to ensure the coordination and successful delivery of AI policy in the UK.