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Governance of artificial intelligence inquiry (2022)

The IET welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry on the governance of artificial intelligence (AI).

Innovations in AI have the potential to charge productivity and economic growth. In addition, embracing AI could reduce the depth and length of the recession the UK is currently facing.

However, in order to harness the economic benefits of AI, and ensure its safe and ethical use, the government needs to facilitate more governance-related legislation and better guidance.

New legislation is needed to resolve a lack of clarity on key issues, including responsibility for AI systems, sanctions for misuse, and data used in AI R&D.

Greater legal clarity on these issues would spur innovation by giving researchers and companies more certainty about the government’s approach, making them more likely to bring the economic benefits of AI to the UK.

Better guidance is needed to ensure the safe and ethical use of AI. Safety is fundamental to maintaining public trust, and ensuring that AI systems re-enforce the UK’s digital security, rather than weaken it.

The government should initiate and fund the development of official guidance for the safe use of AI, via an institution such as the BSI or the HSE. A regulatory oversight body should also be set-up to sanction misuse.

The IET have previously published a factfile outlining ten key pillars that uphold support the safe development and operation of AI systems in safety-critical applications. A more detailed version of this guidance with specific recommendations will be published soon.