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Lords report warns against complacency around AI technology

Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent
·2-min read

The Government must do more to co-ordinate its strategy and policy around the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to better take advantage of the technology, a new report from the House of Lords has said.

The report from the Lords Liaison Committee urges the Government to introduce a chief data officer to oversee how AI is used in the public sector.

It calls for the Government to do more to explain how AI is used to handle personal data to the general public, particularly after reliance on technology has increased during the coronavirus pandemic.

The report, entitled AI in the UK: No Room for Complacency, also recommends more is done to improve digital skills in the UK, especially those linked to artificial intelligence, as well as retrain more people to understand and work with the technology in order to create new roles and future-proof existing jobs for years to come.

It examines the progress made by the Government in the implementation of recommendations made by the Lords select committee on artificial intelligence, which published its own report in 2018.

That called for ethics to be placed at the heart of the development of the technology in order to protect the public.

Lord Clement-Jones, who was chair of the committee, said progress had been made by the Government but that more needed to be done to ensure the UK make the most of the technology.

“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 co-ordination, 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.”