How Do We Manage Data In A World Of AI? Parliamentary Group Sets Out The Challenges Ahead
Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is well and truly among us, and the rise in this technology has seen many great advances in every industry. While certainly bringing advantages to the world, AI also comes with its complications, one of which is data management and privacy.
Recently, the All-Party Parliament Group held an intriguing debate on Artificial Intelligence, which covered some important and challenging topics.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Artificial Intelligence Evidence Event
The theme for the event held on Monday 24th February, was Beyond GDPR. It saw a panel of experts from across various academia, commercial, and legal professions partake in a fascinating discussion. The APPG event was chaired by Lord Clement-Jones CBA and was set out to look at the implications of privacy, data ownership, and user rights in a future powered by artificial intelligence.
During the debate, fundamental questions over how data can be used and owned going forward were asked and talked through in detail.
Policy Fellow and Policy Theme Lead at The Alan Turing Institute, Dr Folrian Ostmann, observed that companies now need reassurance and clarity over data privacy laws going forward. He said that the key challenge now was to guarantee that consent for GDPR is both informed and meaningful.
Consumers also need reassurance that their personal information and data is only going to be used in a beneficial way by these advancing technologies.
Ethically Harnessing Health Data
One of the key discussions of the artificial intelligence event was how the value of health data can be harnessed ethically. The UCL Institute of Health’s Research Data Manager, Dr Kenan Direk, revealed his thoughts on the ethics surrounding health data and planning health provisions in the future. He went on to talk about how when health data is used effectively, it can deliver great value to general public health.
However, in order for that power to be used effectively, there must be meaningful engagement and total transparency with the public over how the research is being used.
The conversation went on to discuss the legal and commercial implications of regulations surrounding data. Tamara Quinn from Osbourne Clarke said that the majority of the businesses who are collecting data are not actually tech or AI companies, and the importance needs to be on providing clarity for these businesses so that they can make investment decisions appropriately.
Current legal frameworks are struggling to keep up with all the implications that using health data has on individuals and public health. Even the process of anonymising health data under GDPR legislation can be a breach of GDPR in itself. These contradictions in the current laws on data privacy make it extremely challenging for businesses to comply. Many organisations see competitors not complying with GDPR, so it is challenging to persuade those companies to do the right thing.
Employee’s Data Rights
Since the UK’s exit from the European Union, the country has the freedom to bring in its own data regulation and employee’s rights. It was highlighted at the APPG event that there is a challenge in having free reign on data regulation while also ensuring the UK is aligned with Europe on a practical basis. Trade union Prospect’s Research Director, Andrew Pakes, discussed employers’ use of personal data in the workplace and the impacts that new technologies have on this. He went on to say there is a significant lack of framework on how employers are handling workers’ personal details.
It is becoming clear that with the rise in artificial intelligence, there needs to be a concept of group rights as otherwise there is a risk that data will be used for decisions about individuals when there is no balance of power. Artificial intelligence is vital for the future of the workplace, but it is important that it is used properly, fairly, and safely.
In many organisations, employees are not considered to have their own voice, and don’t get their own input on how their data is used.
Value Of Data And How It Is Assessed
The All-Party Parliament Group event went on to debate how data is currently assessed, how this needs to be adapted going forward, and the value of the data itself. Deputy Director at Hat Lab, James Kingston, spoke at the event about how the value of data is assessed. He explained that it could be considered a store of value, which only comes from the ability to drive transactions.
The APPG was asked to take into consideration the ownership of data. One example given was self-driving cars and how they can generate extremely valuable data for insurance providers, but there are no clear cut guidelines on who owns that data. Data is the key to artificial intelligence technologies, and it contributes greatly to knowledge, but with data monopolies held by many firms, it makes it challenging for small ones to compete.
Since its creation, the All-Party Parliamentary Group of Artificial Intelligence (APPG AI) has been exploring the implications and impact that AI will have. However, when technology in this sector is expanding so rapidly, there may need to be a faster process to manage the challenges before they arise.
Regardless of its challenges, artificial intelligence is sure to be the way of the future, and knowledge in this area is extremely valuable to employers and highly sought after.
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