Regulators should review ‘monopolization’ of data for A.I. by big US tech firms, UK lawmakers say

FAN Editor

Regulators should review the “potential monopolization of data” by U.S. technology giants in the U.K. that could hamper homegrown development of artificial intelligence (AI), an influential body has recommended.

A committee made up of lawmakers from the House of Lords, the upper house of Britain’s parliament, released a report Monday on the need for the ethical development of AI.

They took written evidence from 223 witnesses and interviewed 57 people during their investigation.

One witness, Professor Richard Susskind, spoke about the “unprecedented concentration of wealth and power in a small number of corporations” such as Alibaba, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Tencent. The lawmakers said in their report that this was a “view widely held” among a number of witnesses.

The House of Lords committee said that the dominance of large technology firms could hamper development of AI in Britain.

“While we welcome the investments made by large overseas technology companies in the U.K. economy, and the benefits they bring, the increasing consolidation of power and influence by a select few risks damaging the continuation, and development, of the U.K.’s thriving home-grown AI start-up sector,” the report said.

“The monopolization of data demonstrates the need for strong ethical, data protection and competition frameworks in the U.K., and for continued vigilance from the regulators.”

The British lawmakers said that the government and the U.K.’s competition watchdog should “review proactively the use and potential monopolization of data by the big technology companies.”

The 181-page report explored the development of AI, the impact on jobs and society and areas such as healthcare and the military.

One recommendation was creating an “AI code” that can be adopted nationally and internationally. The code urges AI to be developed for the common good and says the technology should not be used to “diminish the data rights or privacy of individuals, families or communities.”

“The autonomous power to hurt, destroy or deceive human beings should never be vested in artificial intelligence,” the AI code says.

Lawmakers also recognized that many jobs will disappear with new ones created and said “significant” government investment in skills and training will be necessary to mitigate the negative effects of AI.

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