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Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport: Artificial Intelligence

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 14192, tabled on 11 June 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment they have made of the potential (a) threats and (b) opportunities of artificial intelligence in respect of their Department’s responsibilities.

Answered on

21 June 2021

The Government is aware of a broad range of views on the potential of artificial intelligence but is also informed of the technology’s risks and threats.

The Office for AI (a joint DCMS and BEIS unit) commissioned GDS to conduct a root-and-branch review of AI adoption in the public sector, to identify opportunities to increase productivity and service quality through the application of AI and related technologies.

The findings of the review revealed that leaders across the public sector could benefit from better understanding the technology, the opportunities it presents and the limitations of its use. A guide to using artificial intelligence in the public sector was published to meet this need, drawing on best practice from the commercial sector and public sector.

Accompanying the AI Guide are the Guidelines on AI Procurement co-published in collaboration with the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. These guidelines will inform and empower buyers in the public sector, helping them to evaluate suppliers, then confidently and responsibly procure AI technologies for the benefit of citizens.

Furthermore, the Office for AI, co-published with the Central Digital & Data Office, the Ethics, Transparency and Accountability Framework for Automated Decision-Making. This is a seven-point framework - aimed at civil servants - to help government departments use automated or algorithmic decision-making systems safely, sustainably and ethically.

To help identify and address the risks and threats of AI the government commissioned the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation to review the risks of bias in algorithmic decision-making. The review, which was published at the end of last year, identified a number of potential areas for further action, and I’m pleased that progress has already been made on a number of them.

As we look to ‘Build Back Better’ from the pandemic the government is committed to improving vital public services and driving efficiencies across the public sector through the ethical, safe and trustworthy deployment of responsible AI. Later this year we will publish a new National AI Strategy to help us achieve that ambition. I am pleased that officials from across the civil service and the wider public sector have been contributing to the strategy’s development.