UK Committee calls for international cooperation to address existential challenge of AI

1 September 2023 | Muriel Cozier

‘The rate of development has come as a surprise even to well informed observers.’

The UK Parliament’s Science, Innovation and Technology Committee has released an interim report from its inquiry into Artificial Intelligence, which sets out twelve challenges related to governance that policy makers must address if the public’s safety and confidence in AI are to be secured. The inquiry was launched on 20th October 2022.

The Governance of Artificial Intelligence: interim report comes a few months ahead of the UK government’s AI Safety Summit which will be held at Bletchley Park 1-2 November 2023, and after the UK government announced a £13 million grant for research into AI innovation in healthcare. The upcoming Summit is said to be part of the UK Prime Minister’s ambition to position the UK as an AI governance leader.

Calling for greater international cooperation, the twelve challenges highlighted in the report include: privacy, bias, misrepresentation, data access, international coordination, and the existential challenge. ‘There is a growing imperative to ensure governance and regulatory frameworks are not left irretrievably behind by the pace of technological innovation. Policy makers must take measures to safely harness the benefits of the technology and encourage future innovation, whilst providing credible protection against harm,’ the report asserts.

The report adds ‘While AI is not a new technology, the rapidly acquired ubiquity of tools such as ChatGPT and the rate of development has come as a surprise even to well-informed observers. We are all now interacting with AI models and tools on a daily basis, and we are increasingly aware of these interactions.’

Greg Clark, Chair of the Science, Innovation, and Technology Committee said: ‘AI is full of opportunities, but also contains many important risks to long-established and cherished rights – ranging from personal privacy to national security – that people expect policy makers to guard against. Clark added: ‘The UK’s depth of technical expertise and reputation for trustworthy regulation stands us in good stead, and our Committee strongly welcomes the AI Safety Summit taking place at Bletchley Park in November.’

Looking at the international developments the report considers the EU and the US. It highlights the EU AI Act proposed by the European Commission during 2021, where negotiations between the Commission, European Parliament and Member States over the final text are ongoing.

In the US, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, published a non-bind ‘Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights: Making Automated Systems Work for the American People,’ in October 2022. It sets out five principles and associated practices to help guide the design, use, and deployment of automated systems to protect the rights of the American public.

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