IE Spring 2018 News & Insights: Topic 1 – Ethics and AI

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) featured heavily at the World Economic Forum in January earlier this year.  At one stage, the term ‘artificial intelligence’ appeared in no less than 20 headlines and stories that Bloomberg ran about the Davos gathering. It’s hard to avoid the hype, as well as the hopes and fears, of what AI and automation is bringing.

Mustafa Suleyman, the co-founder of DeepMind, said at the RSA President’s Lecture in November last year: ‘This positive future won’t happen simply because AI systems magically discover how to do the right thing’.

The ethical impacts of AI, including privacy, accountability, transparency, explainability and bias, is quite rightly drawing a lot of attention.  There have been a number of events and debates on the complex topic of AI and ethics, including:

  • All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on AI: Ethics and Accountability: You can read the article here entitled ‘AI regulation & ethics: how to build a more human-focused AI’ which appeared on the homepage of the Internet of Business and captured the essence of my Evidence presented to the APPG at the House of Lords.  I stressed the importance of (1) education of business leaders and employees on the ethical consequences of AI, (2) empowerment of employees through ‘intelligent accountability’ and the ongoing development and maintenance of a trustworthy culture, and (3) excellence through active measurement, reporting and monitoring of the actual ethical impact and performance of AI – do the outcomes line up with the intentions?
  • The Human and the Machine Podcast Series: Episode 1: ‘Artificial Intelligence – will it enslave or set us free?’. The first episode here considers how we survive and thrive in a digital world with Lord David Puttnam, who sits on the House of Lords Select Committee on AI, and Geoff Mulgan, the CEO of Nesta and author of Big Mind. As a panellist during the Podcast I emphasised the need to protect what makes us human in a world where machines are making more and more decisions that affect our everyday lives. For example, our ability to make good, wisdom-based judgements and apply moral values such as love, justice and humility in a world, where we need principles (not rules) to guide our decision-making in order to achieve our moral purpose.  Find out more here about The Human and the Machine.

What’s coming up?

I’m really looking forward to a debate on The Future of Artificial Intelligence in the UK with the Lords Select Committee on 26th April, following the Committee’s report on 16th April 2018 – make a note for your diary. You can read more here about the work of the Lords Select Committee on AI including future dates for oral evidence, publications and next meetings.

CognitionX are hosting “CogX: A Festival of All Things AI” on 11-12 June in Central London and have just announced they have been commissioned to develop a stronger evidence base for London policy as part of the Mayor of London’s AI Innovation Consensus.  This is calling on London’s AI community to contribute to a study focused on improving the capital’s readiness for artificial intelligence.