Our recommendations are designed to support the Government and the UK in realising the potential of AI for our society and our economy, and to protect society from potential threats and risks.
In order to encourage adoption across the UK, the public sector should use targeted procurement to provide a boost to AI development and deployment In particular, given the impressive advances of AI in healthcare, and its potential, we considered the health sector as a case study. The NHS should look to capitalise on AI for the public good, and we outline steps to overcome the barriers and mitigate the risks around widespread use of this technology in medicine.
Within the optimism about the potential of AI to benefit the UK, we received evidence of some distinct areas of uncertainty. There is no consensus regarding the adequacy of existing legislation should AI systems malfunction, underperform or otherwise make erroneous decisions which cause harm. We ask the Law Commission to provide clarity. We also urge AI researchers and developers to be alive to the potential ethical implications of their work and the risk of their work being used for malicious purposes. We recommend that the bodies providing grants and funding to AI researchers insist that applications for such funding demonstrate an awareness of the implications of their research and how it might be misused. We also recommend that the Cabinet Office’s final Cyber Security & Technology Strategy consider the risks and opportunities of using AI in cybersecurity applications, and conduct further research as how to protect datasets from any attempts at data sabotage.
We propose five principles that could become the basis for a shared ethical AI framework. While AI-specific regulation is not appropriate at this stage, such a framework provides clarity in the short term, and could underpin regulation, should it prove to be necessary, in the future. Existing regulators are best placed to regulate AI in their respective sectors. They must be provided with adequate resources and powers to do so.
By establishing these principles, the UK can lead by example in the international community. There is an opportunity for the UK to shape the development and use of AI worldwide, and we recommend that the Government work with Government-sponsored AI organisations in other leading AI countries to convene a global summit to establish international norms for the design, development, regulation and deployment of artificial intelligence.