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Commons committee sets 12 challenges for AI governance


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Image source: Stone

A committee of MPs has set out 12 challenges that policy makers need to address in setting terms for the governance of AI deployments.

The Commons Science, Innovation and Technology Committee has outlined the points in an interim report on the governance of AI, in which it also urges the Government to confirm the first round of public sector pilots on the use of AI models.

The report – which comes from an inquiry held by the committee – covers the current landscape of AI governance and is aimed at promoting a robust and transparent framework for how the technology is deployed. This responds to concerns around the impact of the technology on society, notably in the possible effects on civil liberties and accountability.

Its 12 challenges deal with bias, privacy, misrepresentation, access to data, access to computing power, a need for models to explain their results, open source, intellectual property, liabilities when harm is done, employment, international coordination and the worries about a threat to human life.

Accelerate legislation

The report says these have to be addressed by policy makers, and that the Government needs to accelerate its planned legislation to impose a statutory duty on regulators to have due regard to the principles of AI governance. It points out that a general election is expected next year so any legislation needs to be placed before Parliament during its next session, as any delay would risk the UK falling behind the US and EU and would find it difficult to diverge from their models.

The report points to the Government’s plan, signalled in its AI white paper, for pilot projects in the use of AI models and tools in public services.

It notes that the first tranche have been due to launch later this year and says the Government should confirm detail of the first tranche in its reply to the report.

Explosive growth

Chair of the committee Greg Clark MP said: “Artificial intelligence is already transforming the way we live our lives and seems certain to undergo explosive growth in its impact on our society and economy.

“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 will expect policymakers to guard against.

“Our interim report identifies 12 challenges that must be addressed by policymakers if public confidence in AI is to be secured.

“The UK’s depth of technical expertise and reputation for trustworthy regulation stand us in good stead and our committee strongly welcomes the AI Safety Summit taking place at Bletchley Park in November. However, if the Government’s ambitions are to be realised and its approach is to go beyond talks, it may well need to move with greater urgency in enacting the legislative powers it says will be needed.

“We will study the Government’s response to our interim report, and the AI white paper consultation, with interest, and will publish a final set of policy recommendations in due course.”

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