The UK Government risks missing out on the economic and social benefits of AI due to its narrow view surrounding AI safety, according to a new report from the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has consistently stressed his view that the UK needs to be at the forefront of AI innovation, while also remaining the global leader in AI safety regulation.
“The possibilities are extraordinary, but we must – and we will – do it safely,” Sunak said in the lead-up to the world’s first AI Safety Summit.
The committee’s report states that the UK’s narrow focus on AI safety risks losing it international influence and becoming dependent on foreign tech companies for the emerging technology.
As AI continues to grow at a rapid pace, if the UK does not prioritise competition a small number of tech companies could take the majority of control, stifling smaller players in the market, the report states.
“One lesson from the way technology markets have developed since the inception of the internet is the danger of market dominance by a small group of companies,” Baroness Stowell of Beeston, Chairman of the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee, said.
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Stowell added that it is essential that “exaggerated predictions of an AI-driven apocalypse” from some tech companies does not lead to policies that exclude innovative smaller players.
Ivana Bartoletti, global chief privacy and AI governance officer at Wipro, agreed that the UK focusing on the existential risks of AI “is not the right way forward”.
“We must concentrate on the nitty gritty,” Bartoletti told Verdict. “That means the less glamourous task of grappling with the risks that we are seeing here and now: disinformation, deepfakes and the coding of inequalities and stereotypes, among others.”
Laura Petrone, analyst at research company GlobalData, told Verdict the committee was right to emphasise the need for a business-focused approach.
“The Bletchley Park Summit last year showed that there is strong consensus on the need to mitigate these more immediate risks, as compared to more apocalyptic scenarios, because these are impacting businesses and societies right now,” Petrone said.
GlobalData forecasts that the overall AI market will be worth $909bn (£712.25bn) by 2030, registering a compound annual growth rate (GAGR) of 35% between 2022 and 2030.
In the GenAI space, revenues are expected to grow from $1.8bn in 2022 to $33bn in 2027 at a CAGR of 80%.