April 24, 2024

Is AI a panacea or a Pandora’s field? It’s a query that divides the British authorities.

Ask the deputy prime minister, Oliver Dowden, and he’ll fill your ears with guarantees a few wonderful future.

AI is a “game-changer” that may “revolutionise public companies,” Dowden gushed yesterday. Healthcare, schooling, and crime prevention are all prime targets for the technological transformation — and that’s simply the beginning.

“I might go on almost without end to cowl all areas of public administration,” Dowden threatened. “As a result of there are only a few areas of the general public sector that don’t have the potential to be enhanced by these instruments.”

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Naturally, these instruments can even scale back the necessity for pesky human staff. As a part of this grand plan, the federal government will spend £110mn on AI instruments and technical workers to automate “dogsbody work” — and eradicate boatloads of civil service jobs.

“We have to actually embrace these things to drive the numbers down,” Dowden stated.

And that’s merely one of many deputy PM’s automation desires. “AI is probably — and I don’t say this flippantly,” he claimed, “— a silver bullet.”

His colleagues, nevertheless, don’t all share his unbridled religion. Simply days earlier than Dowden shared his elegant imaginative and prescient, the house secretary, James Cleverly, delivered a really totally different message. In an interview with the London Occasions, Cleverly warned that criminals and “malign actors” working for rival states might use AI to repair this year’s common election.

“The period of deepfake and AI-generated content material to mislead and disrupt is already in play,” he stated.

Such anxieties add a tragic notice to Dowden’s rhapsody. However the contrasting tones are unsurprising — even from throughout the similar authorities.

Whether or not they’re optimistic or unfavorable, politicians have change into enraptured by AI extremes. They supply the highly effective options, the petrifying issues, and the pithy slogans that each authorities wishes. Any ambiguities or center grounds, in contrast, are undesirable distractions.

In actuality, in fact, AI is neither good nor dangerous; what issues is how it’s deployed. Sadly, the guardrails for deployment are being constructed by the likes of Dowden and Cleverly.