New Lords Report Finds No Room for Government Complacency on Artificial Intelligence

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A new report has found that the Government needs to better
coordinate its artificial intelligence (AI) policy and technology
by national and local government. The House of Lords
Liaison Committee’s
report, ‘AI in the UK: No Room for
Complacency’, has concluded that ethical AI is the only
sustainable way forward, and the Government should move from
deciding what the ethics are, to how to instil them in the
development and deployment of AI systems.

This report examines the progress made by the Government in the
implementation of the recommendations made by the Select Committee
on Artificial Intelligence in its 2018 report ‘AI in the UK:
ready, willing and able?’

Lord Clement-Jones, who was Chair of the Select
Committee on Artificial Intelligence, said: “The Government has
done well to establish a range of bodies to advise it on AI over
the long term. However, we caution against complacency. There must
be more and better coordination, and it must start at the top.

“A Cabinet Committee must be created whose first task should
be to commission and approve a five-year strategy for AI. The
strategy should prepare society
to take advantage of AI
rather than be taken advantage of by
it.

“The Government must lead the way on making ethical AI a
reality. To not do so would be to waste the progress it has made to
date, and to squander the opportunities AI presents for everyone in
the UK.”

The report found that the increase in reliance on technology
caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the opportunities
and risks associated with the use of technology, and in particular,
data. Active steps must be taken by the Government to explain to
the general public the use of their personal data by AI.

It advises that the Government must take immediate steps to
appoint a Chief Data Officer, whose responsibilities should include
acting as a champion for the opportunities presented by AI in the
public service, and ensuring that understanding and use of AI, and
the safe and principled use of public data, are embedded across the
public service.

A problem remains with the general digital skills base in the UK
according to the research, with around 10% of UK adults were
non-internet users in 2018. It calls for the Government to take
steps to ensure that the digital skills of the UK are brought up to
speed, as well as to ensure that people have the opportunity to
reskill and retrain to be able to adapt to the evolving labour
market caused by AI.

Finally, the report concluded that AI will become embedded in
everything we do. It will not necessarily make huge numbers of
people redundant, but when the Covid-19 pandemic recedes and the
Government has to address the economic impact of it, the nature of
work will change and there will be a need for different jobs and
skills. This will be complemented by opportunities for AI, and the
Government and industry must be ready to ensure that retraining
opportunities take account of this. In particular, the AI Council
should identify the industries most at risk, and the skills gaps in
those industries. The lords call for a specific national training
scheme should be designed to support people to work alongside AI
and automation, and to be able to maximise its potential.

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New Lords Report Finds No Room for Government Complacency on
Artificial Intelligence
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