AI in the UK:
ready, willing and able?
The UK is in a strong position to be among the world leaders in the development of artificial intelligence. It contains leading AI companies, a dynamic academic research culture, a vigorous start-up ecosystem and a constellation of legal, ethical, financial and linguistic strengths. Artificial intelligence, handled carefully, could be a great opportunity for the economy.
Our recommendations are designed to support the Government and the UK in realising the potential of AI for our society and our economy, and to protect society from potential threats and risks. Central to this is an ethical approach, guided by shared principles. The following is our suggested AI Code.
Artificial intelligence should be developed for the common good and benefit of humanity.
The UK must seek to actively shape AI's development and utilisation, or risk passively acquiescing to its many likely consequences. A shared ethical AI framework is needed to give clarity as to how AI can best be used to benefit individuals and society. By establishing these principles, the UK can lead by example in the international community. We recommend that the Government convene a global summit of governments, academia and industry to establish international norms for the design, development, regulation and deployment of artificial intelligence.
The prejudices of the past must not be unwittingly built into automated systems, and such systems must be carefully designed from the beginning, with input from as diverse a group of people as possible.
Artificial intelligence should operate on principles of intelligibility and fairness.
Companies and organisations need to improve the intelligibility of their AI systems. Without this, regulators may need to step in and prohibit the use of opaque technology in significant and sensitive areas of life and society. To ensure that our use of AI does not inadvertently prejudice the treatment of particular groups in society, we call for the Government to incentivise the development of new approaches to the auditing of datasets used in AI, and to encourage greater diversity in the training and recruitment of AI specialists.
Artificial intelligence should not be used to diminish the data rights or privacy of individuals, families or communities.
Many of the hopes and the fears presently associated with AI are out of step with reality. The public and policymakers alike have a responsibility to understand the capabilities and limitations of this technology as it becomes an increasing part of our daily lives. This will require an awareness of when and where this technology is being deployed.
Access to large quantities of data is one of the factors fuelling the current AI boom. The ways in which data is gathered and accessed need to be reconsidered, so that innovative companies, big and small, have fair and reasonable access to data, while citizens and consumers can also protect their privacy and personal agency in this changing world.
Large companies which have control over vast quantities of data must be prevented from becoming overly powerful within this landscape. We call on the Government, with the Competition and Markets Authority, to review proactively the use and potential monopolisation of data by big technology companies operating in the UK.
All citizens have the right to be educated to enable them to flourish mentally, emotionally and economically alongside
We welcome the measures to increase the number of computer science teachers in secondary schools and we urge the Government to ensure that there is support for teachers with associated skills and subjects such as mathematics to retrain. At earlier stages of education, children need to be adequately prepared for working with, and using, AI. For all children, the basic knowledge and understanding necessary to navigate an AI-driven world will be essential.
AI will have significant implications for the ways in which society lives and works. AI may accelerate the digital disruption in the jobs market. Many jobs will be enhanced by AI, many will disappear and many new, as yet unknown jobs, will be created. A significant Government investment in skills and training is needed if this disruption is to be navigated successfully and to the benefit of the working population and national productivity growth.
The autonomous power to
hurt, destroy or deceive
human beings should
never be vested in
There is a significant risk that well-intended AI research will be misused in ways which harm people. AI researchers and developers must consider the ethical implications of their work.
The Cabinet Office's final Cyber Security & Technology Strategy must explicitly consider the risks of AI with respect to cyber security, and the Government should conduct further research as how to protect data sets from any attempts at data sabotage.
The Government and Ofcom must commission research into the possible impact of AI on conventional and social media outlets, and investigate measures which might counteract the use of AI to mislead or distort public opinion as a matter of urgency.