Chartered Institute for IT declare AI as a “force for good”

1300 business experts signed an open letter by BCS to declare AI as something positive and shun pessimism surrounding its use being a threat to humanity

BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, has confirmed that more than 1300 experts have signed an open letter to collectively emphasise the positive potential of AI. 

Coordinated by the BCS, the letter aims to also relieve concerns about its impact on humanity and promote a more optimistic global perspective. The organisation states that it supports AI regulation that is pro-innovation and supported by measures like sandboxes (safe areas for testing), as well as measures that regulate the use of AI, not the technology itself.

According to BCS, attempting to halt AI development would not work and encourage bad actors to gain a greater advantage.

Regulations are vital - but should not limit digital transformation

The letter reads: “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.

“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.”

This is a huge contrast to the other recent letter signed by big technology leaders like Elon Musk, which called for a pause in developing powerful AI systems, stating that super-intelligent AI systems posed a real existential threat to humanity.

Organisations worldwide are currently buzzing about AI development and what it could mean for businesses and humanity alike. With AI increasing in global relevance, international collaboration will be a priority to prevent use cases in fraud, cyber attacks and even surveillance operations from increasing further.

The United Nations (UN) Security Council has also announced its first formal discussion on AI in New York, with the UK set to host a global summit on AI regulation later in 2023.

To further support the UK’s position as conducting high-quality, ethical, and inclusive AI practices, the plan aims to see the government utilise AI responsibly to improve public services and boost productivity. 

Alongside these developments, a Data Marketplace will be set up to remove barriers to sharing data inside government, with further plans to make the marketplace available to third parties such as researchers and businesses by 2025, according to BCS.

Targeting AI challenges with pragmatism

Challenges posed by AI continue to emerge as human workforces are concerned that as many as 300 million jobs could become automated. Whilst this could lead to increased efficiency and productivity within businesses, it may also result in job losses within certain sectors or occupations

Regulations are indeed necessary against the misuse of AI, instead of hasty and unregulated proliferation. The BCS cites that these issues must be approached pragmatically as the world continues to consider the powers of AI.

Rashik Parmar MBE, CEO of 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.”


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