The UK says it can’t lead on AI spending, so will have to lead on AI ethics instead

As governments around the world plan their artificial intelligence-driven futures, the UK is preparing to adopt a somewhat scholarly and moral aspect. In a report published today by the House of Lords, which will be used to guide future government policy, a committee recommended that the United Kingdom "forge a distinctive role for itself as a pioneer in ethical AI."

Doing so would allow the United Kingdom to play with its "particular combination of national assets", write the authors of the report and guide the overall development in the field. These assets include leading universities; a thriving legal industry; and "institutions respected worldwide as the BBC". The report suggests that the government sponsor more basic research on AI to develop its role and convene a world summit in London next year to create a "common framework for ethical development and deployment." of artificial intelligence systems. "

The recommendations are ambitious but essentially pragmatic." The authors of the report are quick to point out that when it comes to financing research and generating technology companies international, the UK simply can not compete with larger nations. "Given the disparities in resources available, it is unlikely that the UK will be able to compete with the scale of investments made in the United States and China," they write. the authors.

According to the figures in the report produced by Goldman Sachs, between 2012 and 2016, the United Kingdom invested around $ 850 million in AI, which makes it the third largest investor in any country. comparison with the $ 2.6 billion invested by China in that same period and the approximately $ 18.2 billion invested by the United States. The report says that the United Kingdom should be compared to nations such as Germany and Canada, instead of these superpowers. But a more revealing comparison – not mentioned by the authors – could be France, which last month announced almost € 1,500 million ($ 1,800 million) in new investments for AI by 2022.

Imagine the future of the United Kingdom in IA is only a part of, however, the document, and the full reports (which makes it an accessible and pleasant reading) cover other important issues. These include threats to employment and the need to fund training schemes for adults who lose their jobs due to automation; the need for a new approach to data that gives individuals greater control; and the challenges posed by biased algorithms in society. "The prejudices of the past should not be involuntarily incorporated into automated systems," says the summary of the report.

The authors of the report also write what they call an "AI Code" that they say could be adopted nationally and even internationally. This code is one of many created by private institutions and governments, and includes five basic principles:

  • Artificial intelligence must be developed for the common good and the benefit of humanity
  • Artificial intelligence must operate according to the principles of intelligibility and equity [19659010] Artificial intelligence should not be used to diminish data rights or the privacy of individuals, families or communities
  • All citizens should have the right to be educated to allow them to flourish mentally, emotionally and economically along with artificial intelligence
  • The autonomous the power to harm, destroy or deceive human beings should never be invested with artificial intelligence

"AI is not without risks and the adoption of the principles proposed by the Committee will help to mitigate them", said the chairman of the committee that produced the report, Lord Clement-Jones. "An ethical approach ensures that the public relies on this technology and sees the benefits of using it, and will prepare them to challenge its misuse."

Read more: These are some of the ways that experts think AI could ruin us in the next five years.