Artificial Intelligence (AI) is back in the headlines. Again.
A new report penned by academics and researchers at some of the world’s leading institutions and artificial intelligence research organisations warns that “malicious” AI threatens global safety. Automated hacking attacks, driverless car crashes, and drones turned into missiles are just a few of the scenarios likely to impact humanity unless drastic action is taken, according to the report’s authors.
They are absolutely right. It could all happen as they predict. They are correct to point out that not enough attention has been paid so far to the malicious uses of AI.
But as our own report acknowledges, whether you focus on the risks that AI threatens or the opportunities it offers to improve people’s lives, the message for governments is the same. They need to invest now to build their skills and knowledge of these new and fast-evolving technologies to ensure they don’t get left behind. A view echoed by more than a dozen leading AI experts who we spoke to in the course of researching our report.
At the Centre for Public Impact, we also believe that the opportunities to use AI are huge, particularly inside government. This is a sentiment also echoed by Peter Eckersley of the Electronic Frontier Foundations, one of the co-authors of today’s report who says: “Much of this change will be positive; the potential for benefits in areas as diverse as health, transportation and urban planning, art, science, and cross-cultural understanding are enormous.”
The bottom line is that governments should make sure that they not only mitigate the risks of this technology – but also maximise the benefits from it.