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UKRI joins international collaboration on Artificial Intelligence


UKRI joins international collaboration on Artificial Intelligence

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is joining research organisations in Canada and France to host a series of international workshops examining the social and ethical implications of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The workshops will bring together interdisciplinary groups of experts and will be administered jointly by UKRI, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) and France’s Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).

The three institutions will provide funding and support for a series of teams appointed to explore the ethical, social, legal and economic impact of AI research.

Up to nine workshops will take place across each of the three participating nations in 2019, facilitating collaboration between researchers and experts in a range of disciplines, including the social sciences, humanities, law, engineering, computer science and the arts. CIFAR will administer the call, assess the proposals and convene the workshops.

Professor Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive of UKRI, said: “The profound impact of Artificial Intelligence means that it is essential that research and development in this field is held to high ethical standards. International initiatives such as the workshops announced today are of vital importance in ensuring that AI benefits everyone in society.”

The UK government signalled its commitment to ensuring that AI developments are conducted to the highest ethical standards in the announcement of an AI Sector Deal in April, which included the establishment of a Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation. The AI Sector Deal is a £1 billion deal building on the government’s Industrial Strategy to bring together public and private investment into AI research and innovation, which UKRI is contributing to.

CIFAR President and Chief Executive Alan Bernstein said: “These technologies currently play a significant role in improving the quality of our working lives. They have changed the way we communicate, navigate the world and take care of our health: indeed, it is hard to imagine a sector of society that will not be affected by AI.”

Antoine Petit, Chief Executive of CNRS, said: “While AI holds great promise, it also raises ethical concerns and the likelihood of social change. “It is essential that all such potential implications be thoroughly researched and understood by policy-makers, scientists, business and civil society.”

Proposal applications are due on October 15.

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