Ethical concerns rise as AI usage increases

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasing rapidly in the United Kingdom with its new entries in the energy, crime, legal, health and other sectors this month.

National Grid, Singer Vielle and Magic Circle and City law firms in the country are using AI in their businesses to sell, research and create newer projects with their companies.

Currently the UK Government has invested £3 million using the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to research and embed AI in the fields of insurance, law and accountancy. This was done to ‘revolutionise’ customer service by helping with speed and queries.

However, people have voiced their opinions about the ethical complications that lie with the use of AI in the UK. An academic from the University of Exeter recently warned against self governing ‘killer robots’ on the battlefield. These robots, chatbot apps and audio tracking devices have been criticised for their inaccuracies and lack of regulation.

Additionally, an NGO running for privacy, civil liberties and freedom called Big Brother Watch found that most of Metropolitan Police’s AI technology uses facial recognition only to ‘match’ innocent people with crimes around London.

A 23-year-old translation and interpretation student, Li, stated that AI and machines in her industry can sometimes do the job quicker and better than humans. However, they are not always intellectual enough which means that humans are still required to do their job.

A translation student Dmitra Tziorta, 18, spoke about the importance of machines and AI in translations and languages. She claimed: “It’s a silver area. Because, it is useful.” She continued: “I want to become a translator and I know that they’re making translating devices, robots and all these mechanics.”  She mentioned that good alternative would be to use AI for menial jobs and have humans supervise them.

Bethany Christmas, 19, said: “I don’t think that machine should be able to replace what a human should be able to do. if they help in some ways, like positive ways it’s fine.” She added: “Some people have machines for selfish reasons and that’s a bit too far.”

Human interaction vs AI
Gekko research on human interaction. Graphic by: Surbhi Lal

All students raised concerns about job safety and possible replacement by robots in the future. They agreed that while they do not mind interacting with machines, they definitely prefer human interaction over robots and machines

At the same time, Gekko UK’s research found out that consumers prefer human interaction over AI or robots during shopping.

The government has also invested about £10 million through the Regulator’s Pioneer Fund in hopes to support entities that could eventually create a regulatory body for new technologies.

This was done to build confidence in the people of the business sector in hopes of increasing AI and machine learning investment.

Voice of Westminster contacted the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and The Alan Turing Institute, but they were unavailable for comments.

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