ORBIT welcomes FHI recommendations on artificial intelligence

The Future of Humanity Institute (FHI) has released its report and recommendations on machine learning and artificial intelligence. The report analyses the landscape of current developments in these fields and advises policymakers, researchers and innovators working in the disciplines of machine learning and AI on ways to mitigate potential future harms. These harms might include the expansion of current threats, introduction of new threats, and changes to the character of threats. The FHI’s report summarises the work it carried out on digital, physical and political security at the University of Oxford in February 2017 and includes subsequent research stemming from the workshop.

The FHI makes several recommendations in its report, including the expansion of the range of stakeholders to be involved in discussing and addressing these challenges, and exhorting developers, researchers and engineers to take seriously the possibility that their work might be put to malicious purposes.

Professor Marina Jirotka, head of Human-Centred Computing at Oxford University and co-founder of ORBIT, commented, “The FHI’s recommendation on expanding the range of stakeholders aligns with the principles of responsible research and innovation, which use public and stakeholder engagement as one of the tools with which to address the results of ICT research.”

Martin de Heaver, managing director of ORBIT, added, “We particularly welcome the advice that researchers should anticipate possible negative outcomes of their work and seek to mitigate potential harm arising from it. The RRI principles promulgated by the UK Research Councils and ORBIT specifically address the issue of unforeseen consequences to ICT research and we believe that by working to consider additional possible outcomes, negative effects can be reduced.”

Notes for editors

ORBIT is the Observatory for Responsible Research and Innovation in ICT. Led by Oxford and De Montfort Universities and funded in the launch phase by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), ORBIT provides policy advice, training on responsible research and innovation (RRI), consultancy, project assessment, support services, and an online community for ICT researchers.
Martin de Heaver is managing director of ORBIT, formerly Executive Director at CPC and has founded and run a number of new and established enterprises. He has also been supporting new entrepreneurs as a judge and mentor at the London Business School since 2004. He has delivered research projects funded by EU frameworks 4/5 and 7 and InnovateUK, and is a former Visiting Senior Research Fellow at King’s College London.
Professor Marina Jirotka is Professor of Human Centred Computing at Oxford University and ORBIT investigator. She undertakes work focused on deepening societal comprehension of the impacts of technology and ameliorating negative effects by anticipating outcomes. She leads the human centred computing group, an interdisciplinary research group that aims to understand the ways in which technology affects communication, collaboration and knowledge exchange within scientific, work and home settings.

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