AI experts and academics respond to Rishi Sunak AI speech

27/10/2023

FOLLOWING the UK PM Rishi Sunak’s speech on AI yesterday in the lead-up to the highly anticipated AI Safety Summit, industry experts and academics have been reacting to the speech and outlined where they think the UK needs to go in order to safely regulate AI.

Dr. Richard Bownes, Principal – AI and ML at Kin + Carta comments, “Mr. Sunak correctly identifies that the potential of this technology resembles the industrial revolution, or the introduction of Mobile as a consumption format, but fails to talk about the most probable areas of societal disruption or put forth any concrete steps to mitigate against them. As a practitioner of AI, it is clear that the most prevalent threats are in exacerbating societal biases and, through careless automation, the potential for greater socioeconomic inequality.

“There are real threats that AI poses, and the government will play a part in safeguarding us from those possibilities, but I think it is naive to say that the government is the only line of defence. Currently, these models are almost exclusively manufactured by tech supergiants and specifically only a small subset of people with the skills to build and deploy these models. At the pace of current innovation, it is not possible for government bodies or agencies, which lack these cadres of data professionals, to keep up with the change of pace or accurately or effectively plan for the future and must therefore work hand in hand with the private sector to ensure an accurate and contemporary understanding of the landscape and trajectory of AI.”

Meanwhile, Peter van Jaarsveld, Global Head of Production at OLIVER agreed that the focus on governance was the right one, commenting: “I would say that in general the focus on governance is right, and while it should come from governments, the nature of AI and our business means that without coordination across countries this can become highly complex, contested and contradictory. This leaves marketers trying to find ways to create work that crosses borders without falling foul of any specific country.

“I do agree with his statement around the scale of the opportunity. Whether it is greater than the Industrial Revolution is something history will show, but I would say that AI is transforming industry faster, with broader consequences than anything we’ve seen before.

“The opportunity is for AI to change many things for the better, and in our context, not only how marketing is created, but the function marketing plays in consumers worlds, reaching them with more relevant, accessible and timely communication than ever before, but, the onus is on all of us, practitioners, governments and technology companies to work together to do this safely, and with our eyes open to the risks of ungoverned use by bad actors.”

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