The lack of confidence felt by UK Members of Parliament is being seen across Conservative (seven per cent) and Labour (six per cent) parties, following recently published guidelines for AI regulation, which call for sector-specific approaches undertaken by regulators.
Overall, over two-thirds of MPs (69 per cent) do not have confidence in existing watchdogs to govern AI, while just under a quarter (23 per cent) understand the full implications of the technology.
As rapid innovation of capabilities, including generative AI, across multiple industries continues, almost half of MPs (45 per cent) think that artificial intelligence is developing too quickly, with just 22 per cent disagreeing.
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To ensure that the technology is properly regulated across the country, 60 per cent said they prioritise safety in the roll-out of AI, with only 14 per cent prioritising growth and innovation.
However, 44 per cent of MPs surveyed are more optimistic than pessimistic about the impacts of AI.
“There’s been a huge amount of scaremongering since the government published its AI whitepaper. But good policy is never created in a climate of paranoia. If we focus too much on long-term fear factors, we’re in danger of overlooking the benefits and risks of AI in the here and now,” said James Boyd-Wallis, co-founder of the Appraise Network.
“What does the use of AI facial recognition technology by the police mean for bias and privacy? How can AI ease the burden on our struggling NHS? These issues are staring us in the face now.
“We need greater debate about what is safe and what is not and strike a balance between the upsides and the downsides. That’s the only way we’ll get effective policy, informed by evidence, that supports a vibrant AI sector and our society more broadly.”
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Aidan Muller, co-founder of Appraise, commented: “AI is going to be truly transformative for society. Understandably, our government and policymakers are still getting to grips with its implications, but we need more proactivity than a wait-and-see approach.
“We need an extensive public dialogue informed by deep expertise, and we need it sharp. Existing regulators don’t have the required expertise, and it seems MPs are aware of this.
“We don’t want AI to just be shaped by companies who may prioritise innovation over societal concerns. The health of our democracy is at stake, but also, we don’t want knee-jerk policymaking governed by fear.
“We’re calling for an informed debate in which all stakeholders can take part. This is an opportunity for us to shape the AI that we want, for the society we deserve.”
Appraise, alongside YouGov, surveyed 108 Members of Parliament last month on their views on regulation and innovation regarding artificial intelligence capabilities.
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