The CIPR’s AI in PR Panel has welcomed the publication of the UK government’s National AI Strategy, led by the Office for AI. The Panel, under new chair Andrew Bruce Smith, has however raised concerns around a lack of attention to the social impact of artificial intelligence.
The strategy outlines plans to invest in the AI ecosystem, to support the transition to an AI-enabled economy, and to ensure the governance of technologies encourages innovation and protects rights and values. It includes a commitment to R&D and proposes initiatives to address the existing skills gaps that exist across all sectors.
We are pleased to note the plans for safeguards on some of the key concerns we have already identified through our previous work such as transparency, privacy, and the potential for bias in AI systems. We applaud the fact that a substantial part of the National Strategy addresses governance issues around safe and ethical AI deployment, and the requirement to maintain and build trust. It also recognises that there are different issues for different sectors – in the case of public relations, we are already taking a lead for the PR industry in developing governance standards and assurance processes for communications practitioners.
However, there do appear to be some gaps in strategy. There seems to be little recognition for the profound social impacts AI will have and what this will mean for the re-shaping of the national workforce, education and more broadly, the nature of society and the implications for AI haves and have nots. There is clearly a need for mass education and upskilling around AI – but this needs to be a co-ordinated effort. Some sectors are better equipped to do this than others. We recognise there is still much work to do – and the PR sector is no exception.Andrew Bruce Smith Chart.PR Hon.FCIPR, Chair of CIPR’s AIinPR Panel