Pascal Le Segretain / Staff
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Oscar Williams

News editor

Brits overwhelmingly favour regulation of AI

Three in four Brits believe that artificial intelligence should be regulated, according to one of the first surveys of British opinions about the burgeoning field.

While 65 per cent of Brits think that AI has the potential to improve the world, 82 per cent fear that firms will misuse it.

Most respondents (48 per cent) said the government should lead the charge on regulation, while 28% favour an independent global body. Just 11 per cent want industry to take control.

The survey of 1,000 Brits, conducted by MACHINA SummitAI, comes as the House of Lords select committee on AI closes its call for evidence about the impact of the field.

Interested parties have until midnight tonight (6 September) to submit their answers to a series of questions about the ethical, economic and social implications of the technology.

Tim Clement-Jones, the chair of the Lords AI committee, told NS Tech in July that he wants to deliver recommendations to government when the committee’s report is published in March.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to say to government: ‘You must regulate; you must legislate’. But I think what we want to deliver is some kind of policy framework that we think government should work within. That could be suggestions to industry for voluntary action.”

The sector is prompting alarm even within its own ranks. Elon Musk, whose automaker Tesla is pushing the boundaries of autonomous driving, has warned that without proactive regulation AI poses “an existential threat”.

Bradley Maule-ffinch, director of strategy for MACHINA SummitAI, said: “The results reveal that – although 65% agree with  Zuckerberg’s view that AI has the potential to make the world better – people do want it to be closely regulated.

“Just over four in ten people believe the Government is best placed to do this, although the rest disagree or are undecided on who should lead on AI legislation.“