UK Royal Society calls for careful stewardship over machine learning

A survey conducted by UK’s Royal Society about end-users awareness of and views about machine learning shows that, when it comes to machine learning solutions, users’ concerns are related to: the potential for machine learning systems to cause harm, for example as a result of accidents in autonomous vehicles; the possibility that people could be replaced by machines in the workplace; the extent to which systems using machine learning might make experiences less personal, or human; and the idea that machine learning systems could restrict the choices open to an individual, for example directing consumers to one type of product or service. In terms of benefits, the public saw most to be gained where machine learning could be used to augment human abilities, or do things humans cannot, for example providing advanced analysis. In the light of these findings, the UK’s science academy called for ‘urgent consideration […] to be given to the “careful stewardship” needed over the next ten years to ensure that the dividends from machine learning – the form of artificial intelligence that allows machines to learn from data – benefit all in UK society’.