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Artificial intelligence must be ‘for common good’

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Ethics should be at the centre of the development of artificial intelligence (AI), a parliamentary report has said.

AI should “never” be given the “autonomous power to hurt, destroy or deceive” people, it adds.

The Lords’ report said the UK has the potential to be a leader in developing AI and called on the government to support businesses in the field.

It also recommended that people be educated to work alongside AI in the jobs of the future.

It said that such education would “mitigate the negative effects” on jobs which are possible as AI develops.

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Media captionThe BBC’s quick guide to Artificial Intelligence

“Many jobs will be enhanced by AI, many will disappear and many new, as yet unknown jobs, will be created,” the report said.

“Significant government investment in skills and training will be necessary,” it added.

“Retraining will become a lifelong necessity.”

The House of Lords Artificial Intelligence Committee’s report – AI in the UK: Ready, Willing and Able? – concludes that AI “should be developed for the common good and benefit of humanity”.

It also recommends that more is done to protect people’s data rights and choices in an age of AI.

This could include establishing a voluntary mechanism to inform people when AI is being used.

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Media captionStephen Hawking on God, artificial intelligence and mankind’s future

Lord Clement-Jones, the committee’s chair, said the UK has “a unique opportunity to shape AI positively for the public’s benefit” and to lead on international development standards, rather than “passively” accepting the consequences of such development.

“The UK contains leading AI companies… as well as a host of legal, ethical, financial and linguistic strengths. We should make the most of this environment,” he said.

The committee says the adoption of its recommendations would mean the UK is “ready, willing and able to take advantage of AI.”

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