Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have a lot of potential to reshape the way people work and live, however a new report states that the UK is poorly prepared for an inevitable autonomous future.
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, made up of 14 MPs, said that the UK government does not have a strategy as of yet for fostering AI and robotics.
Therefore, the Committee calls upon the UK government to set up a “Commission on Artificial Intelligence” that would be tasked with monitoring the social, ethical and legal implications of developments in AI systems.
The committee says the UK must: “respond with a readiness to re-skill, and up-skill, on a continuing basis” but is quick to criticise the government for lack of leadership in developing education and training systems in this area. The committee also stated: “The government must commit to addressing the digital skills crisis through a Digital Strategy, published without delay.”
“There is no government strategy for developing the skills, and securing critical investment, that is needed to create future growth in robotics and AI. Without a government strategy for the sector, the productivity gains that could be achieved through greater uptake of the technologies across the UK will remain unrealised,” stated the report.
Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla has declared AI to be the biggest threat to the survival of humans. However, Dr Tania Mathias, acting Science and Technology Committee chairwoman said, “Artificial intelligence has some way to go before we see systems and robots as portrayed in films like Star Wars. But science fiction is slowly becoming science fact, and robotics and AI look destined to play an increasing role in our lives over the coming decades.”
In emailed commentary to SCMagazineUK.com, Roger Bou, director, IoT Solutions World Congress said: “Automation brought about by technologies such as AI, robotics, machine learning and IoT will also bring about profound change. But we need to give ourselves the best possible chance of understanding what these effects might be. In enterprise and industry, the ‘beta testing' phase happens in testbeds – and area where we simulate real-world conditions to test these technologies.”
“The Industrial Internet Consortium already operates several such testbeds, for technologies like smart energy and asset condition monitoring. These testbeds need to be expanded, with governmental support, to examine the macroeconomic implications of these developments, so that we can arm world leaders and CEOs with the information they need to manage change at the national level.”