Tony Blair and William Hague co-authored a report stating that artificial intelligence could pose the biggest policy challenge the UK has ever faced, and it emphasizes the need for immediate action to keep up with rival powers like the US.
The foreword to the report was co-written by the former prime minister and the former leader of the Conservative Party. They claimed that the technology was about to “radically reshape” society and cause “a fundamental change in how we plan for the future.” According to the report, the state is not adequately ready for the potential changes that AI could bring about.
The report titled “A New National Purpose: AI promises a world-leading future of Britain” states that AI’s unpredictable development, rapid rate of change, and increasing power make its arrival a significant policy challenge. The report further notes that existing approaches and channels of the state are poorly configured to address this challenge.
AI has shot up the political agenda in the UK and other countries after breakthroughs in generative AI, which can produce convincing text, images and even voice on command. Rapid developments in AI technology, pushed by factors such as greater computing power, breakthroughs in neural network design and the availability of datasets to build powerful tools like the ChatGPT chatbot, has prompted calls from senior figures in tech for a pause in building powerful systems.
Concerns about AI range from the potential for generative AI to produce disinformation to AI technology developing beyond human control.
The report by the Tony Blair Institute proposes policy recommendations that include mandating generative AI companies to label the media they produce as “deepfakes” and calling for the removal of unlabelled deepfakes from the internet. Report also calls for publicly owned datasets to help build responsible AI systems, as well as the creation of a national laboratory focused on researching and testing safe AI, with the aim of it becoming an international AI regulator.
The report by Blair and Hague also recommends that any entity wishing to access government-controlled computing power for use in building AI systems must show “responsible use” of it.