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The House of Lords is going to carry out a public inquiry into artificial intelligence


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The House of Lords has launched a public inquiry into advances in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).

The House of Lords said on Wednesday that the new Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence will "consider the economic, ethical, and social implications of advances in artificial intelligence."

AI is set to bring about major changes to the way humans live and work. Well-known scientists and entrepreneurs such as Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have warned about the potential dangers superintelligent AI presents.

But their concerns are very much in the realm of science fiction at the moment and there are a range of more near-term risks that need to be considered, such as how we ensure humanity as a whole benefits from AI developments as opposed to certain countries or individuals.

The Committee will aim to answer a series of questions including:

  • How can the data-based monopolies of some large corporations, and the 'winner-takes-all' economics associated with them, be addressed?
  • Is the current level of excitement surrounding artificial intelligence warranted?
  • What role should the Government take in the development and use of artificial intelligence in the UK?

Lord Clement-Jones, chairman of the Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence, said in a statement:

"This inquiry comes at a time when artificial intelligence is increasingly seizing the attention of industry, policymakers and the general public. The Committee wants to use this inquiry to understand what opportunities exist for society in the development and use of artificial intelligence, as well as what risks there might be.

"We are looking to be pragmatic in our approach, and want to make sure our recommendations to Government and others will be practical and sensible. There are significant questions to address relevant to both the present and the future, and we want to help inform the answers to them. To do this, we need the help of the widest range of people and organisations."

The committee is inviting contributions from members of the public and organisations that have an interest in AI and public policy. Submissions must be with the Committee by September 6 if they are to be considered.

"If you are interested in artificial intelligence and any of its aspects, we want to hear from you," said Clement-Jones. If you are interested in public policy, we want to hear from you. If you are interested in any of the issues raised by our call for evidence, we want to hear from you."

The Committee will have to submit a report to government by March 31, 2018.

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