NEWS19 July 2023

AI a ‘transformational force’ not a threat, claims BCS letter

AI News Public Sector Technology UK

UK – The UK government and wider business community should recognise artificial intelligence (AI) as a “transformational force” rather than a threat to humanity, according to an open letter from BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

Artificial intelligence1_Crop

In the letter, which has attracted more than 1,370 signatures, states that AI will enhance every area of life provided its creators share global professional and technical standards.

The letter follows an open letter published earlier this year that called for a ‘pause’ on AI development, which BCS said was unrealistic, and another letter from the Centre for AI Safety had warned that “mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority”.

The BCS letter states that “AI is not an existential threat to humanity; it will be a transformative force for good if we get critical decisions about its development and use right”.

It adds: “The UK can help lead the way in setting professional and technical standards in AI roles, supported by a robust code of conduct, international collaboration and fully resourced regulation.

“By doing so, ‘Coded in Britain’ can become a global byword for high-quality, ethical, inclusive AI.”

Signatories include Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, chief executive at Stemettes, entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Ken Olisa and Professor Luciano Floridi of the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford.

Rashik Parmar, chief executive at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, said: “The technologists and leaders who signed our statement believe AI won’t grow up like The Terminator but instead as a trusted co-pilot in learning, work, healthcare, entertainment.

“One way of achieving that is for AI to be created and managed by licensed and ethical professionals meeting standards that are recognised across international borders.

“The public need confidence that the experts not only know how to create and use AI but how to use it responsibly. Yes, AI is a journey with no return ticket, but this letter shows the tech community doesn’t believe it ends with the nightmare scenario of evil robot overlords.”