MPs: UK has no plan for impact of AI on society

MPs worry Britain lacks a strategy for dealing with the issues raised by robotics and artificial intelligence

Posted 12 October 2016 by

'Westworld' (1973)The government is failing to prepare the country around how fundamentally artificial intelligence (AI) will change people’s lives.

The warning comes in a new report from the House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee on robotics and artificial intelligence.

The committee found that although there is “some way to go before we see systems and robots as portrayed in films like Star Wars”, the Government’s role in preparing for the change is “lacking”.

It claims there is no governing strategy for developing the new skills British workers will need to succeed as the use of automation and AI increases.

“Science fiction is slowly becoming science fact, and robotics and AI look destined to play an increasing role in our lives over the coming decades,” warned Acting Science and Technology Committee chairwoman Dr Tania Mathias.

“It is too soon to set down sector-wide regulations for this nascent field, but it is vital that careful scrutiny of the ethical, legal and societal ramifications of artificially intelligent systems begins now.”

As a result, the committee also warned more needs to be done to tackle the social and ethical problems posed by automation, AI robots, urging the Tories to set up a special AI commission to look at potential problems the advances could create.

“The report rightly acknowledges the importance of being ready to re-skill and up-skill the workforce on a continuing basis,” confirmed Roger Bou, director of the upcoming Barcelona IoT Solutions World Congress.

“Automation brought about by technologies such as AI, robotics, machine learning and IoT will also bring about profound change,” he added.

“But we need to give ourselves the best possible chance of understanding what these effects might be.”