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UK has "no Government strategy" for dealing with AI

The UK has “no Government strategy” for developing the necessary skills and investment needed to create future growth in robotics and AI, according to a new report from the Science and Technology Committee.

“Artificial intelligence has some way to go before we see systems and robots as portrayed in the creative arts such as Star Wars,” said Dr Tania Mathias, interim Chair of the Committee. “But science fiction is slowly becoming science fact, and robotics and AI look destined to play an increasing role in our lives over the coming decades.”

Dr Mathias warned, however, that despite the government recognising the potential impact artificial intelligence and robots could have on the country, little has been done to prepare, and thinking around these technologies needs a ‘reboot’.

“Government leadership in the fields of robotics and AI has been lacking,” she warned, adding that technology companies are a step ahead with recently formed 'Partnership on AI'. “While it is encouraging that the sector is thinking about the risks and benefits of AI, this does not absolve the Government of its responsibilities.”

The rise of the machines could potentially create massive value and enable new industries, but could also ‘hollow out’ certain industries such as retail, transport, and manufacturing, creating income equality.

The Committee calls for flexible education to deal with the need to re-kill and upskill, the government to begin looking at the ethical, legal and societal impact of AI, and establish a Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) Leadership Council made up academics, industry professionals, and government in order to produce a comprehensive strategy.

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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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