The rise of artificial intelligence

An insightful piece by Marcus Storm on artificial intelligence and the urgent need for Britain to develop a modernising national industrial strategy to ensure we are a global leader in the field. 

Artificial Intelligence is one of the greatest threats Britain will face this century. It affects everything from education policy, to how we tackle climate change, to our national security.

It is also one of the greatest, most unique opportunities for Britain which may not come again for generations. Levelling up our country and increasing the prosperity and real wages of our citizens relies on bringing our productivity levels back up to our international peers’. Technological adoption has always been the foundation of this process.

For the longer term, there is currently a short window for us to adopt a powerful, modernising national industrial strategy which cements us as a global leader in the field.

The lack of gold standards, both nationally and globally, hinders adoption and spread in industry and research and without them, the markets for some of our largest applications of AI such as healthcare and financial services will be opaque and inefficient. Innovation is stifled by regulatory bottlenecks owing to reluctance to approve what is not understood. 

Progressive regulation, ideally in a specialised national auditor or regulator for AI which uses talent more effectively, will not only better shape and promote the new, ethical market for innovators to focus on, reassure and enable companies to adopt productivity-boosting tech, and nudge researchers to identify practical challenges - only a handful of papers last year were published on ways to attack and subvert AI - but will also preserve the explosive and inspiring innovation for other industries.

For the country, it is a chance to prove our global credentials by being one of the first countries to take this crucial step. The US and the EU both suffer from fractured data protection rules, and the statist approach of East Asia is not compatible with our liberal democratic values. Genuine global leadership can come from Britain if we foster a reputation for excellence - companies may adapt to our standards first and then export their models to the rest of the world.

Patiently waiting for the private sector to settle on industry standards when private and public sector alike are struggling with the requisite understanding and skills will increase risks and delay adoption and the much needed productivity boost - perhaps long enough for the world to move on and the chance to shape this vital ecosystem to fall out of Britain’s grasp.

Marcus Storm

@marcus1storm

The Young Fabians Tech network is currently looking for contributors for its pamphlet: “Britain: Global Leader in Ethical Artificial Intelligence” until March 31 2020. Please contact technetwork@youngfabians.org.uk for a special chance to get involved.

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