House of Lords launches artificial intelligence enquiry

Select committee makes call for evidence to look at a range of issues around AI

The House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence (AI) has opened an enquiry on the subject with a call for evidence and a target to deliver its report by the end of March next year.

It said it wants to look at the economic, ethical and social implications of advances in AI, and will begin taking oral evidence in the autumn.

Lord Clement JonesChair of the committee Lord Clement-Jones (pictured) said: "This inquiry comes at a time when artificial intelligence is increasingly seizing the attention of industry, policymakers and the general public. The committee wants to use this inquiry to understand what opportunities exist for society in the development and use of artificial intelligence, as well as what risks there might be.

“We are looking to be pragmatic in our approach, and want to make sure our recommendations to government and others will be practical and sensible. There are significant questions to address relevant to both the present and the future, and we want to help inform the answers to them.”

The committee’s statement emphasised its aim to assess a number of issues, including: the current state of AI; the pace of technological change; its impact on society; public perceptions; sectors most likely to benefit; ethical implications; how it relates to “data based monopolies” of some large corporations; the role of government; and the work of other countries and international organisations.

The deadline for submitting evidence is 6 September 2017.

The move comes as the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is working on its own report on AI, as part of the Government’s aim to develop the UK’s potential in the field. A commitment to developing the technology was included in the national Digital Strategy published in March.

UKAuthority will be staging a follow-up to its successful conference on artificial intelligence in public services during the autumn. Return of the Bots is scheduled to take place on 14 November 2017 in central London, bringing together representatives of central and local government, the NHS and other public services to examine the latest progress and future potential. It is free to attend for public sector employees. You can learn more and register for the event here.

Image from the Liberal Democrats, CC BY-SA 4.0