Regulate AI to quash “killer robot” fears,  warns government tsar  

Speaking at Weatherbys Private Bank’s Creating The Future (CTF) event, Tabitha Goldstaub, Chair of the UK government’s AI Council, said that too many people were still “frightened” by the perceived threats of artificial intelligence and that regulation is key – if the UK is to capitalise on the huge opportunity the technology brings.  

Tabitha Goldstaub told a 600-strong online audience of the Bank’s clients: “We are still all frightened by AI – Hollywood doesn’t help with its killer robot movies but neither do some politicians who describe AI as mutant algorithms. The narrative needs to be changed. We should embrace our fears but scrutinise AI to be sure we are comfortable interacting with the technologies. There’s a lot of regulation that’s going to be needed – and regulation scares people.” 

AI will add an estimated £232bn to the UK economy by 2030, while the UK is second only to the US out of 172 countries worldwide when it comes AI readiness for public service delivery. 

Goldstaub said she hoped the tide was turning and that the UK could become the standard bearer for AI regulation. She added: “The European Union has just released a recommendation on how they will regulate AI while Boris Johnson has just spoken about needing regulation in life sciences [where AI is prominent]. There’s a real shift towards understanding that if we can regulate, we can innovate more. And that there’s a real opportunity here in the UK – to be the place that carefully and cleverly regulates artificial intelligence to make it a world leader.” 

The Weatherbys Private Bank’s CTF event brought together a line-up of world-renowned influential speakers to explore some of the world’s most challenging and exciting issues across business, health and wellbeing, and the environment. Roger Weatherby, Chief Executive at Weatherbys Private Bank, said: “Creating The Future typifies what the Bank stands for. We are about being a trusted adviser to our clients, helping to stimulate discussion and debate about important issues that will affect them and future generations of their families.”  

The line-up included Professor Shafi Ahmed, the multi-award-winning surgeon who live streams his operations, who told the online audience at the event that 2021 will be the year that AI becomes a reality for healthcare. 

He said: “A few years ago there was a lot of hype that AI would change our lives immediately – but it wasn’t quite ready to do so. This year, 2021, AI is going to be a reality. We’re now seeing real-time examples of AI improving diagnostics and treatment pathways for early detection and monitoring patients going forward.”