Response to £1bn AI sector deal
On 26 April, a new sector deal for AI was announced by Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
In this week’s AI sector deal, a focus on skills (from GCSE to PHD), research and ethics is encouraging. As seemingly one of the largest sector deals to be announced so far, it puts AI up there with the UK’s long standing strengths in, for example, automotive and life sciences: recognising the considerable potential of this emerging and somewhat disparate sector.
We need to rebalance power – and ensure public involvement in how AI evolves
Nesta has long advocated that the public needs to be involved in the conversation about how AI - and other technologies - will change the the way we'll live (and we have done a lot of thinking about how regulation needs to be agile enough to allow those emerging technologies to flourish).
We need to build on current projects which show how citizens can take control of their data
Take the sharing of data securely and legally through the Sector Deal’s new Data Trusts for example: it is a positive and uncontroversial step. But there needs to be a say for the people whose data is used. Through our Decode work we’re seeing a number of data cooperatives being set-up so that collectives of individuals can set the conditions upon which they allow their data to be used for R&D. Data Trusts could do well to consider adopting aspects of this approach.
We need more AI R&D to be directed to public benefit
The majority of public funding for R&D into AI has been directed to military purposes, and more recently to subsidising business. But we also need more systematic direction of R&D to developing AI that can contribute to climate change, education, healthcare and public services.
Nesta will continue investing in AI based firms, researching AI, using machine learning in our own work and exploring the practical challenges of regulation and ethics. We will also soon announce the creation of a new centre to explore how collective human and machine intelligence can be combined, drawing on several years work at the frontiers of collective intelligence.
Further details will be published soon. In the meantime, please read our AI story so far: Nesta’s work in artificial intelligence - maximising the public benefit.