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A call to include tech and human rights experts at the UK’s AI Summit

Posted in: Ai September 15, 2023
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A call to include tech and human rights experts at the UK’s AI Summit

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly reshaping our world. From smart homes to innovative medical solutions, the possibilities seem endless. But packaged with this promise is a myriad of risks. To responsibly harness AI’s potential, it is crucial to address these challenges and bring all relevant stakeholders to the table.

An interim report published by the UK government’s Science, Innovation and Technology Committee sets out the Committee’s findings from its inquiry so far, and the twelve essential challenges that AI governance must meet if public safety and confidence in AI are to be secured.

This report urges greater international cooperation to address these twelve challenges. It welcomes the November AI summit at Bletchley Park and calls on the UK Government to invite “as wide a range of countries as possible” to “advance a shared international understanding of the challenges of AI as well as its opportunities”. 

We commend the efforts of the Select Committee in undertaking their work and listening exercise. Their diligent analysis and the consequent outline of the risks play an integral role in understanding the comprehensive landscape of AI. It isn’t just about innovation; it’s about doing so responsibly, ethically, and inclusively.

While acknowledging risks is a good first step, it is equally essential to be proactive in addressing them. AI, after all, is a reflection of our society—a blend of data, people and the guiding parameters we have chosen to embed in the technology. If we aren’t careful, we risk encoding our current societal biases, disparities, and issues into algorithms that then dictate the future.

An inclusive AI Summit

As we look forward to the UK AI Summit this autumn, there lies an unprecedented opportunity to shape the future of AI in Britain. However, this opportunity may easily be squandered if we don’t ensure that the discussion table is representative of all groups at risk of the identified potential harms. 

The government has rightly identified bias, privacy, and misrepresentation as paramount challenges in AI. Addressing these effectively requires that organizations like AUDRi and others which lie at the intersection of technology and human rights be there to have their say alongside tech giants and policymakers. Their unique insights and experiences can provide invaluable guidance on ensuring AI serves humanity in a way which respects human rights, freedoms and dignity.

Regulation as a catalyst

Contrary to popular belief, regulation is not a stifling force. On the contrary, as the Select Committee rightly noted, it can be the catalyst for growth. Regulatory frameworks, when thoughtfully crafted, can foster trust in AI systems and motivate wider adoption. They assure the public and businesses alike that AI is being used ethically and responsibly.

To enable this, we are also asking the Government to embrace its findings, equip regulators with the resources they need and enact regulation to enable existing regulators to further their action and create a specific and independent cross sector AI agency which brings together regulators, civic society and academia. 

The promise of AI is tantalising, but realising its full potential responsibly requires collective action. The upcoming AI Summit is a chance for Britain to lead the way in defining the trajectory of AI. But to harness AI’s potential truly, those most vulnerable to its pitfalls and those equipped with the expertise to address these challenges must be integral parts of the conversation.

By Emma Gibson, Global Coordinator for the Alliance for Universal Digital Rights (AUDRi) and Chief Executive of Women Leading in AI, and Ivana Bartoletti, co-founder of AUDRi, and founder and Director of Women Leading in AI

This article first appeared on Spotted News

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