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What do the public need to know about AI?

In the final evidence session of its inquiry, the House of Lords Artificial Intelligence Committee will consider the public narratives surrounding artificial intelligence, and what can be done to improve the wider understanding of this emerging technology.

The Committee will also look at how the debate and discussion around AI can be conducted in a way that engenders public trust, whether lessons can be learned from history, and what can be done to inform consumers about the use of AI in their everyday lives.

These are among the key issues the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence will be asking three witnesses on Tuesday 19 December 2017.

At 3.30pm the Committee will take evidence from:

  • Professor David Edgerton, Department of History, King's College London
    Professor Edgerton is known for his iconoclastic approach to the history of science and technology. He is the author of ‘The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History since 1900', and his new book, ‘Capitalism, Empire and Nation: a new history of twentieth-century Britain' will be published in 2018.
  • Professor Peter McOwan, Vice Principal (Public Engagement and Student Enterprise), Queen Mary University of London
    Professor McOwan's research focuses on visual perception, mathematical models for visual processing, in particular motion, cognitive science and biologically inspired hardware and software. Engagement with the public and media regarding AI is integral to his research agenda.
  • Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, President, Royal Statistical Society
    Sir David is also the Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk, University of Cambridge and Chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication. The Winton Centre is dedicated to improving the way that quantitative evidence is used in society. Sir David has presented the BBC4 documentaries ‘Tails you Win: the Science of Chance' and the award-winning ‘Climate Change by Numbers'.

Questions the Committee is likely to ask include:

  • Can we learn lessons from the past about the present and future of artificial intelligence?
  • Should AI-powered products be labelled as such? Would a Kitemark scheme be a good idea?
  • An 'arms race' emerging between nations developing and utilising AI is often talked about. Is this a useful narrative?
  • Is the AI community right to be concerned that scaremongering over AI could damage trust in the technology?

The evidence session will take place at 3.30pm on Tuesday 19 December 2017 in Committee Room 4A of the House of Lords.

In October the Committee published the written evidence it accepted into the inquiry. Click the link below to read this evidence, as well as the transcripts of the Committee's previous oral evidence sessions:

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