Artificial Intelligence (Select Committee Report) - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:39 pm on 19th November 2018.

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Photo of Lord Clement-Jones Lord Clement-Jones Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Digital) 6:39 pm, 19th November 2018

My Lords, every Select Committee hopes for a debate as good as this one. The noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, pointed out the exceptional number of non-committee members who have taken part. That is a sign of the quality of today’s debate and the points made. Noble Lords showed expertise in so many different sectors: healthcare, defence, film, industry, financial services and the future. Not all noble Lords have recently published books on the future, but the contribution from the noble Lord, Lord Rees, was much appreciated.

Nearly all speakers emphasised the need for momentum in developing not only AI but the ethical frameworks that we need. Quite frankly, we are still in the foothills. The issue will become of greater importance as we combine it with all the other technologies such as the internet of things and blockchain. We need to be absolutely clear that our policy must be active. We must also have the means of scrutiny. I hope that the House will come back to this, perhaps in one of the other Select Committees, rather than an ad hoc one. As things move on so quickly in this area, we need to keep abreast of developments. The mantra that I repeat to myself, pretty much daily, is that AI should be our servant not our master. I am convinced that design, whether of ethics, accountability or intelligibility, is absolutely crucial. That is the way forward and I hope that, by having that design, we can maintain public trust. We are in a race against time and we have to make sure we are taking the right steps to retain that trust.

I thank all noble Lords for this debate. This is only the first chapter; there is a long road to come.

Motion agreed.