The House of Lords Select Committee announced on July 19, that it will launch its first public inquiry into AI in order to consider the economic and social implications of the technology. The House of Lords want to better understand how technology giants use consumer data.
The concern by the UK government is not new. In 1985, the House of Lords also raised questions about the "new technological revolution."
"One of the most significant developments of this new technological revolution is of course the ability to centralize, collate, and obtain access to massive amounts of information," Lord Nicholas Fairfax said.
Lord Fairfax also raised concerns about a possible conflict of interest for firms using AI.
The Committee wants to examine the issue of user-generated training data. For example, a mobile phone will collect location information, which is crucial apparently for learning algorithms to work, however, large tech companies do not want to acknowledge the consumer as the owner of this data.
Former president of the Liberal Democrats and Chairman of the Committee, Lord Tim Clement-Jones, called for the UK government to examine the ethics behind AI.
Lord Clement-Jones said that artificial intelligence, as well as Internet of Things (IoT), needs "huge consideration" of its "ethics."
"It may be that we need to construct a purpose-built regulator for the world of artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things in ethical terms," Lord Clement-Jones said.
"Algorithms are used to make individual decisions in the fields of employment, housing, health, justice, credit and insurance. I had heard that employers are increasingly studying social media to find out more about job applicants. I had not realized that an algorithm, programmed by an engineer, can, for example, take the decision to bin an application," added Baroness Hazel Byford, a Conservative member of the House of Lords.
The concern amongst the Committee is that AI will impact consumers socially, economically and there are also ethical considerations to take into account.
"This inquiry comes at a time when artificial intelligence is increasingly seizing the attention of industries, policymakers and the general public. The Committee wants to use this inquiry to understand what opportunities exist for society in the development and use of artificial intelligence, as well as what risks there might be," Lord Clement-Jones said.