AAIP response: Industrial Strategy Artificial Intelligence Sector Deal

News | Posted on Friday 27 April 2018

Professor John McDermid, Director of the Assuring Autonomy International Programme, responds to the deal.

Professor John McDermid, Director of the Assuring Autonomy International Programme said:

“The publication of the UK Government’s Artificial Intelligence Sector Deal is very welcome, and is a much-needed response to a rapidly emerging technology with significant potential to change people’s lives in beneficial ways.”

Artificial Intelligence (AI), including Machine Learning and Deep Learning, presents significant opportunities for the UK. Understanding how to ensure the safe operation and trust-worthy decision-making of systems using AI is key to their application in all contexts, especially where these systems learn by experience.

The University of York supports the government’s far-sighted investment into this area and we look forward to contributing our expertise in the safety of complex computer-based systems, including robotics and autonomous systems. We are particularly pleased to see that the government wants to make the UK a ‘global centre for AI and data-driven innovation by investing in R&D, skills and regulatory innovation’. These are areas which we are currently engaged in through the new Assuring Autonomy International Programme, a £12M initiative in partnership with Lloyd’s Register Foundation to spearhead research, training and standards in the safety of Robotics and Autonomous Systems, which depend on AI.

The University of York already delivers world-class Masters programmes in Safety Critical Systems Engineering and Cyber Security, alongside unique CPD courses tailored to industry and regulators, where we have seen increased interest in Machine Learning and AI. We are already working to develop relevant new courses to give industry, entrepreneurs, regulators, and policy-makers the skills they need to make informed choices about the safety and adoption of systems based on AI.

We strongly support the ambition to work towards interoperable and open standards, for example to enable safe inter-operation of autonomous vehicles. We are already actively engaged with professional and standards bodies in a range of domains, including aerospace and automotive, on developing and evolving the standards which guide the development of such systems and provide a sound basis for their regulation.