The succeeding president of the British Science Association has cautioned against the menaces that AI has in its bag for the future of Britain. Currently, AI is a matter of greater concern than terrorism, antibiotic resistance, or climate change.
Professor of Physics and Public Engagement at the University of Surrey, Jim Al-Khalili said, the pace with which AI is advancing is “happening too fast” without proper regulation or scrutiny.
Prof Al-Khalili urging the government to urgently regulate warning that the full hazards to jobs and safety have not been properly evaluated.
He said at a conference in London, “Until maybe a couple of years ago had I been asked what the most pressing and important conversation is, we should be having about our future, I might have said climate change or one of the other big challenges facing humanity, such as terrorism, antimicrobial resistance, the threat of pandemics or world poverty.
“But today I am certain the most important conversation we should be having is about the future of AI. It will dominate what happens with all these other issues for better or for worse.
“Is Russian cyber hackers were able to meddle with the 2016 US elections, then what is stopping cyber terrorists from hacking into any future AI controlled power grids, transport systems, banks of military installations.
“Our government has a responsibility to protect society from potential threats and risks.”
Hailed as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, robotics and AI have enhanced proportionally in the recent years with the aid of British companies like DeepMind lighting the way in developing complex neural networks that were once considered as unachievable.
Furthermore, Bank of England presaged that “large swathes” of Britain’s labor force is under threat of unemployment currently as algorithms and robots over jobs. The industries that were previously thought to be immune, for instance, creative writing, are now being superseded by AI programmes and earlier in this month, M&S heralded that it was swapping call center staff with AI.
Professor Al-Khalili further explained, “Many people are becoming increasingly nervous about what they see as unchecked progress in AI.”
“There are valid concerns about the widespread implementation of AI leading to an increase in inequality. Robotics and autonomous systems are predicted to bring about job losses, primarily affecting workers in low-skilled roles, and there is still little research on how the future effects of automation might vary across the UK.”
“We are now seeing an unprecedented level of interest, investment and technological progress in the field, which many people, including myself, feel is happening too fast.”
A study published by KPMG this week revealed that 59% of Britishers believed that there should be more government supervision as they were worried about security and data privacy.
The company is demanding for a “British Standard of Trust” – a seal of approval for AI and against data breaches.
Sue Daley, Head of AI at TechUK, which represents tech industries in Britain cautioned that it is about time that we take “practical action” to regulate artificial intelligence.
She further added, “AI has unprecedented potential to transform every aspect of our economy and society. The UK is already a world leader in AI innovation in key sectors, such as health and finance.”
“But we must keep pace if the UK is to remain at the forefront in the development and application of AI technologies.”
“This means acting now to create the right conditions to drive AI uptake, build the next generation of AI experts and put in place the mechanisms for the UK to be a world leader in the development of, not only innovative but also responsible and ethical AI. The time for practical action is now.”