AI is hot news right now. Advances are being made on a myriad of disparate frontiers, from self-driving cars to banking, insurance and law. Unsurprisingly, public bodies, policy-makers and governments are starting to take a keen interest in this fast-developing field.
The House of Lords select committee on AI was appointed in June to ‘consider the economic, ethical and social implications of advances in artificial intelligence’. On 19 July the committee issued a public call for written evidence. It asks businesses and other respondents to consider questions on seven topics:
1. The pace of technological change - How might AI develop over the next five to 20 years? What are the factors that may help or hinder this development? Is the hype around AI justified?
2. The impact on society - How can society best be prepared for the increased use of AI? Who is benefiting the most and the least from its use?
3. Public perception - Should (and, if so, how should) the public’s understanding and engagement with AI be improved?
4. Industry - Which sectors are most, and least, likely to benefit from AI? How can the data-based monopolies, and the associated 'winner-takes-all’ economies, of some large corporations be addressed?
5. Ethics - What are the ethical implications of AI use and development? When might, or might not, ‘black-boxing’ be acceptable?
6. The role of the government - What role should the government take in AI use and development in the UK? Should (and, if so, how should) AI be regulated?
7. Learning from others - What can we learn from other countries’ or international organisations’ policy approach to AI?
The UK public inquiry seeks to address both the opportunity and risks AI may present. The deadline for evidence submission to the committee is 6 September 2017. The inquiry’s progress can be followed here and the committee will report on its conclusions by 31 March 2018.
The EU Parliament also recently issued a public consultation, which closed in May 2017. This aimed to get ‘a better understanding of the possible risks and problems that robotic and AI developments may pose […] and how these problems could be dealt with at the European level.’ The initial results found that almost three-quarters of respondents had positive attitudes towards AI but the majority (90%) also felt that AI should be regulated.