AI accountability needs action now, say UK MPs


A UK parliamentary committee has urged the government to act proactively -- and to act now -- to tackle "a host of social, ethical and legal questions" arising from the rise of autonomous technologies such as artificial intelligence. "While it is too soon to set down sector-wide regulations for this nascent field, it is vital that careful scrutiny of the ethical, legal and societal dimensions of artificially intelligent systems begins now," says the committee. "Not only would this help to ensure that the UK remains focused on developing'socially beneficial' AI systems, it would also represent an important step towards fostering public dialogue about, and trust in, such systems over time." The committee kicked off an enquiry into AI and robotics this March, going on to take 67 written submissions and hear from 12 witnesses in person, in addition to visiting Google DeepMind's London office. Publishing its report into robotics and AI today, the Science and Technology committee flags up several issues that it says need "serious, ongoing consideration" -- including: "[W]itnesses were clear that the ethical and legal matters raised by AI deserved attention now and that suitable governance frameworks were needed," it notes in the report.

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