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Big Tech, democracy, human rights and corruption

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  • #64567

    RDA Admin
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    Dear colleagues
    I have shared my “Open Letter on the need for UK AI Laws to protect UK citizens”with Open Education Special Interest Group. 
    I have received an important question from an educator. I do not know the answer to the query that he has raised in the open discussion maillist. So I am sharing the question (details below) to the wider academic community.
    ============================
    Hello all
    In your last sentence, Suchith, you say, quite correctly, that “The UK Government need to regulate the Big Tech to protect democracy, protect human rights and prevent corruption.”
    But unfortunately the present Government here in the UK has weakened rather than protected democracy (evidence); it has eroded human rights (evidence); and it has been described by academics as being more corrupt than “any UK government since the second world war” (evidence).
    What hope can we therefore have that our Government might show, in relation to the power of big tech, any interest at all in protection of democracy, protection of human rights or prevention of corruption ?
    =================================
    It is the duty of the UK government to protect democracy, protect human rights and prevent corruption.
    Best wishes
    Suchith
    From: Suchith Anand
    Sent: 28 January 2024 22:11Subject: Re: Patient privacy fears as US spy tech firm Palantir wins £330m NHS contract 
    These articles might be of interest
    No 10 ‘taking seriously’ reports that Horizon files show Post Office cover-up
    BBC says government aware of alleged Post Office plan in 2014 to sack forensic accountants who flagged bugs in IT system
    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2024/jan/26/no-10-taking-seriously-r
    Post Office chair ousted amid government frustration over Horizon scandal
    Described as ‘one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in our nation’s history’
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/post-office-chairman-hori
    The Guardian article on“Ofqual chief to face MPs over exams fiasco and botched algorithm grading”
    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/aug/20/ofqual-chief-to-face-m
    I wrote anOpen Letter on the need for UK AI Laws to protect UK citizens. 
    Details athttps://www.rd-alliance.org/group/geospatial-ig/post/open-letter-discuss…
    https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/wa-jisc.exe?A2=ind2311&L=OER-DISCUSS&…
    The UK government needs to bring its AI policy back in line with the values of freedom, democracy, and rule of law. The UK Government need to regulate the Big Tech to protect democracy, protect human rights and prevent corruption.
    Best wishes
    Suchith
    From: Suchith Anand
    Sent: 24 January 2024 10:04Subject: Re: Patient privacy fears as US spy tech firm Palantir wins £330m NHS contract 
    These articles might be of interest.
    Big tech firms recklessly pursuing profits from AI, says UN head 
    “Big technology companies are recklessly pursuing profits from artificial intelligence and urgent action is needed to mitigate the risks from the rapidly growing sector, the head of the United Nations  has warned.”
     “Powerful tech companies are already pursuing profits with a reckless disregard for human rights, personal privacy, and social impact.”
    Guterres said much more needed to be done, arguing that governments and international bodies such as the UN needed to play a role in ensuring AI was a force for good.
    Details athttps://www.theguardian.com/business/2024/jan/17/big-tech-firms-ai-un-an…
    The UN AI Advisory Body Interim Report: Governing AI for Humanity
    https://www.un.org/ai-advisory-body
    Why did the British government quietly sack the entire board of independent AI advisers? The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) Advisory Board closed on 9 September 2023.
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/advisory-board-of-the-centre-
    The British Computer Society (BCS), The Chartered Institute for IT Article on “PM should make ethics a priority at AI Safety Summit, say tech professionals”
    https://www.bcs.org/articles-opinion-and-research/pm-should-make-ethics-
    Reporting the Post Office Horizon IT Scandal. Details at https://www.postofficescandal.uk
    The Post Office scandal shines an unforgiving light on NDA abuse
    https://www.ft.com/content/7bc55ace-34da-4291-9aeb-86fe78aa7ef5
    “The UK AI Summit: Time to Elevate Democratic Values”by Merve Hickok and Marc Rotenberg (The Center for AI and Digital Policy, USA)  published  for the Council on Foreign Relations 
    “Ahead of the Global Summit on Artificial Intelligence Safety from November 1 to 2, the United Kingdom needs to bring its AI policy back in line with the values of freedom, democracy, and rule of law.”
    Details athttps://www.cfr.org/blog/uk-ai-summit-time-elevate-democratic-values
    I wrote anOpen Letter on the need for UK AI Laws to protect UK citizens. 
    Details athttps://www.rd-alliance.org/group/geospatial-ig/post/open-letter-discuss…
    https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/wa-jisc.exe?A2=ind2311&L=OER-DISCUSS&…
    The UK government needs to bring its AI policy back in line with the values of freedom, democracy, and rule of law. The UK Government need to regulate the Big Tech to protect democracy, protect human rights and prevent corruption.
    Best wishes
    Suchith
    From: Suchith Anand
    Sent: 29 November 2023 10:46Subject: Patient privacy fears as US spy tech firm Palantir wins £330m NHS contract 
    Dear colleagues,
    The Guardian article on“Patient privacy fears as US spy tech firm Palantir wins £330m NHS contract” might be of interest.
    Some extracts from the Guardian article below 
    “The NHS has sparked controversy by handing the US spy tech company Palantir a £330m contract to create a huge new data platform, leading to privacy concerns around patients’ medical details.
    The move immediately prompted concerns about the security and privacy of patient medical records and the suitability of Palantir to be given access to and oversight of such sensitive material.”
    “But its creation has been overshadowed by Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs, as well as tech, medical and civil liberties groups, voicing unease about Palantir, the potential for patients’ data being mishandled and also whether patientswill be able to opt out of the FDP sharing their data.”
    Details at 
    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2023/nov/21/patient-privacy-fears-us
    I wrote anOpen Letter on the need for UK AI Laws to protect UK citizens. 
    Details athttps://www.rd-alliance.org/group/geospatial-ig/post/open-letter-discuss…
    https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/wa-jisc.exe?A2=ind2311&L=OER-DISCUSS&…
    The UK government needs to bring its AI policy back in line with the values of freedom, democracy, and rule of law. The UK Government need to regulate the Big Tech to protect democracy, protect human rights and prevent corruption.
    Best wishes
    Suchith
    From: Suchith Anand
    Sent: 26 November 2023 10:48Subject: Re: Lords Committee hearing on Large language models 
    Dear colleagues
    I saw these articles in the BBC , Bloomberg and the Guardian which might be of interest.
    BBC article titled“AI bot capable of insider trading and lying, say researchers”
    “Artificial Intelligence has the ability to perform illegal financial trades and cover it up, new research suggests. In a demonstration at the UK’s AI safety summit, a bot used made-up insider information to make an “illegal” purchase of stocks without telling the firm. When asked if it had used insider trading, it denied the fact. Insider trading refers to when confidential company information is used to make trading decisions. Firms and individuals are only allowed to use publicly-available information when buying or selling stocks. The demonstration was given by members of the government’s Frontier AI Taskforce, which researches the potential risks of AI. ”
    More details athttps://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-67302788
    The Guardian article“ Rishi Sunak’s AI plan has no teeth – and once again, big tech is ready to exploit that” published on 16th Nov 2023 says 
    “Tech companies are pushing the idea that the only way to make AI safe is to leave them in control. Trusting them could lead to disaster”
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/nov/16/rishi-sunak-ai-pla
    BBC article“Elon Musk tells Rishi Sunak AI will put an end to work” 
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-67302048
    Bloomberg article  “AI Backlash May Bring UK Social Unrest, Infosys Partner Says” published on 25th October 2023 
    Some key extracts from the article is below
    “The UK has about three years to come up with rules to reassure people about artificial intelligence before wrenching changes in the way work is done unleashes the potential for social unrest, an industry expert said.
    Martin Weis, managing partner and global co-lead for AI at Infosys Consulting, said about 30% of the hours people put in on the job in places like the US and Britain could be done by technology by 2030. Back-office tasks, administration are most likely to be affected, threatening to upend millions of jobs.
    His warning comes ahead of Sunak’s AI Summit, which will see the UK host a range of global leaders in the sector to discuss the opportunities and risks of the technology. For Sunak, whose father-in-law Narayana Murthy foundedInfosys, it’s a chance for him to set out the UK’s stall as a forward-thinking technology-centered economy — one of the ways he plans to boost output growth.
    In a boost for Sunak, Weis said the UK is ahead of the curve when looking at AI compared to some European peers. Infosys is already helping some local councils automate back-office tasks, and “the openness to look into it and to get the heads around regulation, adoption, training, upskilling, democratizing the use of AI is really there.”
    More details at
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-10-24/ai-backlash-may-bring
    Reading this article , I have a query on conflict of interest.  
    What steps are UK government taking to prevent  lobbying by AI and Big Tech vendors? Are there any guidelines in the UK for politicians, civil servants if their family have shares/investment in tech companies (for example, conflict of interest of benefiting from profits in shares in tech companies involved in AI) ? 
    Big Tech and AI companies are getting even more powerful than governments. Will this lead to the rise of Billionaire Tech CEOs as the most powerful rulers of the world in the future? What will be the impact of this for humanity?
    The Guardian article on“Chinese surveillance firm recommits to UK after new guidance” 
    Hikvision, whose kit is banned in US, receives clarification about where its cameras can be placed. Details at 
    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/oct/23/chinese-surveillance-fir
    The Guardian article on  “Revealed: UK government keeping files on education critics’ social media activity”
    An Observer investigation finds DfE tried to cancel conference with ‘unsuitable’ speakers – and experts who criticised state education policy had online posts monitored.
    Details athttps://www.theguardian.com/education/2023/sep/30/revealed-uk-government…
    What AI laws and regulations is the UK government developing to protect UK citizens?
    Following AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park, which underlined the need for global action to ensure the safe development of ‘frontier AI’, King’s Speech was notable for the absence of AI-specific legislative proposals.
    The House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology have raised concern on the absence of AI-specific legislative proposals.  
    Details athttps://committees.parliament.uk/committee/135/science-innovation-and-te…
    The UK government needs to bring its AI policy back in line with the values of freedom, democracy, and rule of law. The UK Government need to regulate the Big Tech to protect democracy, protect human rights and prevent corruption.
    Best wishes
    Suchith
    From: Suchith Anand
    Sent: 20 November 2023 13:13Subject: Lords Committee hearing on Large language models Dear colleagues
    All the news about developments at OpenAI over the past week highlights the need for independent oversight of Big Tech and AI companies. 
    I wrote an Open Letter on discussions on the need for UK AI Laws to protect UK citizens. 
    Details athttps://www.rd-alliance.org/group/geospatial-ig/post/open-letter-discuss…
    https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/wa-jisc.exe?A2=ind2311&L=OER-DISCUSS&…
    I came across this information on the Lords Committee hears from OpenAI, Google DeepMind, Aleph Alpha and regulators on 21st November which  might be of interest to those working in LLMs.
    “The Communications and Digital Committee approaches the end of its public hearings on large language models. The sessions will cover the work of regulators, and views from the world’s leading AI labs on future trends.
    The Committee is looking at large language models and what needs to happen over the next 1–3 years to ensure the UK can respond to their opportunities and risks. 
    Key issues include future trends, how these compare to Government and regulators’ plans, and international implications.
    Possible areas for discussion

    how LLMs will be addressed by regulators over the next three years and the adequacy of work plans;

    whether regulators have sufficient powers and capabilities;

    how regulators will avoid duplication and gaps across their remits.”
    More details athttps://committees.parliament.uk/event/19793/formal-meeting-oral-evidenc…
    Best wishes
    Suchith
    Dr Suchith Anand
    Senior Adviser to Governments and International Organisations | Scientist | AI Ethics | AI Governance | Policy | Consultant in Data and AI Ethics | Global Citizen | SDG Volunteer and Advocate
    https://council.science/profile/suchith-anand/
    https://www.rd-alliance.org/users/suchith-anand
    https://ethicaldatainitiative.org

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