UK Gov names members of AI Council

The UK government will be hoping its AI advisory board is a bit more successful than Google’s as it names the full line-up.

Bringing together experts from industry, academia and data rights organisations, the ambition is to provide a guiding light for the future of artificial intelligence. Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder of CognitionX, will chair the council which will feature the likes of Ocado CTO Paul Clarke, Kriti Sharma, the founder of AI for Good and Deepmind’s co-founder Mustafa Suleyman.

The primary objective of the council will be to make the UK a leading name in the AI world.

Such is the promise of the technology in terms of productivity and the creation of new services, technologists will be keen to drive innovation forward, though the dangers are also high.

AI not only presents the risk of abuse through prejudice and unconscious bias, but the unknown risks should be considered as much of a danger. Such is the embryotic nature of AI, the full-potential, power and influence are anyone’s guess for the moment. This is an exciting prospect, but also should be approached with caution.

For example, back in July 2017, a Facebook AI application managed to invent its own language to speak to other applications meaning human overseers had no idea what was going on. This was a very simplistic and limited application so there was no real danger, but it was a lesson to the industry; more defined perimeters need to be created for more complex applications in the real world.

This council will aim to create a framework to take the UK into a leadership position in the AI world, but it will be critical the members do not forget about the importance of ethical and responsible development.

“Britain is already a leading authority in AI,” said Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright. “We are home to some of the world’s finest academic institutions, landing record levels of investment to the sector and attracting the best global tech talent, but we must not be complacent.

“Through our AI Council we will continue this momentum by leveraging the knowledge of experts from a range of sectors to provide leadership on the best use and adoption of artificial intelligence across the economy.”

The full list of members:

  • Tabitha Goldstaub, Chair and Cofounder of Cognition X
  • Wendy Hall, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton
  • Professor Adrian Smith. Institute Director and Chief Executive at the Alan Turing Institute
  • Alice Bentinck, Co-founder at Entrepreneur First
  • Alice Webb, Director for Children’s and Education at the BBC
  • Ann Cairns, Executive Vice Chair of Mastercard
  • Professor Chris Bishop, Microsoft Technical Fellow and Director of the Microsoft Research Lab in Cambridge
  • Dr Claire Craig, Chief Science Policy Officer at the Royal Society
  • Professor David Lane, Professor & Founding Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics
  • Kriti Sharma, Founder of AI for Good
  • Marc Warner, CEO of Faculty
  • Professor Maire O’Neill, Professor at Queen’s University Belfast
  • Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive of UKRI
  • Martin Tisne, Managing Director of Luminate
  • Mustafa Suleyman, Co-founder of Deepmind
  • Professor Neil Lawrence, Professor at the University of Sheffield and Director, IPC Machine Learning at Amazon
  • Professor Nick Jennings, Vice-Provost Research and Enterprise of Imperial College
  • Dame Patricia Hodgson, Member of the Independent Commission on Freedom of Information and Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation
  • Paul Clarke, CTO of Ocado
  • Professor Pete Burnap, Professor of Data Science & Cybersecurity at Cardiff University
  • Priya Lakhani, Founder of edtech AI platform Century Tech
  • Rachel Dunscombe, CEO of NHS Digital Academy