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Artificial Intelligence Ethics, Jobs & Trust – UK Government Sets Out AI future

CBR looks at the 'Artificial intelligence: an overview for policy-makers' report from the Government Office for Science.

By Ellie Burns

The UK government is driving the artificial intelligence agenda, pinpointing it as a future technology driving the fourth revolution and billing its importance on par with the steam engine.

The report on Artificial Intelligence by the Government Office for Science follows the recent House of Commons Committee report on Robotics and AI, setting out the opportunities and implications for the future of decision making. In a report which spans government deployment, ethics and the labour market, Digital Minister Matt Hancock provided a foreword which pushed AI as a technology which would benefit the economy and UK citizens.

“As one the world’s leading digital nations, artificial intelligence presents a huge opportunity for the UK. Get this right, and we can create a more prosperous economy with better and more fulfilling jobs,” Mr Hancock wrote in the report.

“We can protect our environment by using resources more efficiently. And we can make government smarter, using the power of data to improve our public services.”

“Artificial intelligence also poses new questions about ethics and governance, the responsible use of data and strong cyber defences. To realise the full potential of this revolution, again we have to be ready with answers.”

CBR looks at the findings of the report and sets out 4 key take-aways.


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Government AI

Government is already trying to reap the benefits of artificial intelligence, using techniques like machine learning in work for the Government Data Programme. The report was clear that the government, as opposed to private companies, has the unique responsibility of needing to be transparent, follow due process and be accountable to UK citizens. The report sets out possible areas where AI benefits may be realised in the public sector:

parliment“Make existing services – such as health, social care, emergency services – more efficient by anticipating demand and tailoring services more exactly, enabling resources to be deployed to greatest effect.

• Make it easier for officials to use more data to inform decisions (through quickly accessing relevant information) and to reduce fraud and error.

• Make decisions more transparent (perhaps through capturing digital records of the process behind them, or by visualising the data that underpins a decision).

• Help departments better understand the groups they serve, in order to be sure that the right support and opportunity is offered to everyone.”

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