Bishop of Oxford calls for agreed principles against which public-centred use of Artificial Intelligence can be assessed

On 12th February 2020 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Clement-Jones, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to assess the full implications of decision-making and prediction by algorithm in the public sector.” The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steven Croft, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, I declare an interest as a board member of the CDEI and a member of the Ada Lovelace Institute’s new Rethinking Data project. I am also a graduate of the AI Select Committee. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, for this important debate.

Almost all those involved in this sector are aware that there is an urgent need for creative regulation that realises the benefits of artificial intelligence while minimising the risks of harm. I was recently struck by a new book by Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft, entitled Tools and Weapons—that says it all in one phrase. His final sentence is a plea for exactly this kind of creative regulation. He writes:

“Technology innovation is not going to slow down. The work to manage it needs to speed up.”

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Bishop of Carlisle highlights ethical issues involved with gene editing

On 30th January 2020 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Bakewell, “that this House takes note of recent developments in the field of gene editing, and its status in scientific research around the world.” The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, took part in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, I add my own congratulations and gratitude to the noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell, on securing this timely and important debate. Unlike my noble friend Lord Patel and other noble Lords yet to speak, I am not a scientist. However, I have vivid memories of following the Human Genome Project with a mixture of excitement and awe as I realised its huge potential for good. I have been equally impressed by the many recent developments in gene editing, including the 100,000 Genomes Project and CRISPR-Cas9, which we have heard about, and their implications for the prevention or treatment of diseases such as cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and cancer. Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle highlights ethical issues involved with gene editing”