Britain capable of setting ‘gold standard’ in ethical artificial intelligence
According to a new report by the professional body for the IT industry, the UK is on track to pioneer ethical artificial intelligence – provided more people from non-tech backgrounds choose the field.
If the government and industry aid in helping AI-related jobs become more diverse, then public trust will grow quickly according to the study by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.
BCS’ research states that as AI grows, it is necessary that schools introduce greater ‘AI education’ and for there to be opportunities for adults to learn more about AI to keep up with demand and to lessen the growing digital divide.
The report found that the UK has a ‘wide variation in the level of competence and ethical practice’ of organisations using AI; for that reason, the government should develop new professional standards in AI across the public and private sectors.
Last summer’s exam crisis, where an algorithm was used the estimate grades after students’ exams were cancelled due to Covid-19, found a decline in public trust in AI. The follow-up survey found just over half (53%) of adults had no faith in organisations using algorithms to make personal judgements.
“The UK should set the ‘gold standard’ for professional and ethical AI, as a critical part of our economic recovery,” said lead report author Bill Mitchell, director of policy at BCS.
“We all deserve to have understanding, and confidence in, AI, as it affects our lives over the coming years; to get there, the profession should be known as a go-to place for men and women from a diverse range of backgrounds, who reflect the needs of everyone they are engineering software for.”
“That might be credit scoring apps, cancer diagnoses based on training data, or software that decides if you get a job interview or not.”
“It’s about developing a highly skilled, ethical and diverse workforce – and a political class – that understands AI well enough to deliver the right solutions for society.”
“That will take a strong leadership from the government and access to digital skills training across the board.”
BCS’ Priorities for the National AI Strategy report is published to complement the government’s plan, due to be released in the final version later this year and builds on work of the AI Council Roadmap and National Data strategy.
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