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Alan Turing Institute ready to lead AI ethics board

Alan Turing Institute lends support to ‘Commission on Artificial Intelligence’ published by the Science and Technology Committee.

By Ellie Burns

The establishment of an AI ethics board in the UK has taken a big step forward, with the Alan Turing Institute agreeing to work with the UK government to explore the ethics questions surrounding the development of artificial development.

In a letter to the Science and Technology Committee, the Alan Turing Institute welcomed the Committee’s recent Report on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence and put itself forward as an institution prepared to take a leading role in taking AI forward.

The letter to Committee chair Stephen Metcalfe was in response to a report published by the Committee on 12 October 2016, in which it recommended that a ‘standing Commission on Artificial Intelligence’ be established at the Alan Turing Institute to examine the social, ethical and legal implications of recent and potential developments in AI.

Welcoming the report, Sir Alan Wilson, chief exec of the Institute and author of the letter to Committee chair Stephen Metcalfe, said:

“Your Report recommends that a standing Commission on Artificial Intelligence be

The Alan Turing Institute's mission is to make great leaps in data science research in order to change the world for the better.

The Alan Turing Institute’s mission is to make great leaps in data science research in order to change the world for the better.

established, based at the Alan Turing Institute, to examine their social, ethical and legal implications of recent and potential developments in AI, focusing on establishing principles to govern the development and application of AI techniques, as well as advising the Government of any regulation required on limits to its progression. Should this recommendation be taken forward, we would very much welcome the opportunity to lead the creation of the Commission.”

MP Stephen Metcalfe returned support in kind, saying in response to the Institute’s letter:

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“We welcome the Alan Turing Institute’s support for our report on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence and are pleased that, as the UK’s new data science research institute, it is ready to lead the standing Commission on Artificial Intelligence that we recommended establishing”

Debate surrounding the ethics concerned with AI has been gathering speed in recent times, with Melanie Mitchell recently telling CBR that the AI community is ‘not very well prepared’ when it comes to the ethical issues that come with using AI in life-critical areas.

“There’s a lot of discussion around the topic of how “autonomous” machines should be allowed to be in making decisions. This is currently a huge issue for self-driving cars, and will remain a central issue as AI gets ever more sophisticated and widely used.     I expect “AI ethics” to become a major new sub-discipline of philosophy.”

 

Read: From the Turing Test to Deep Learning: Artificial Intelligence Goes Mainstream

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