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UEL’s Professor Hassan Abdalla discusses Artificial Intelligence with Select Committee

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Professor Abdalla is leading a number of AI projects

The University of East London’s (UEL) Professor Hassan Abdalla has told Parliament’s Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence (AI), that advances in AI technology are making a positive impact across robotics, retail, and even cancer research.

Professor Abdalla, Pro-Vice Chancellor Dean of UEL’s College of Arts, Technology and Innovation, was invited to discuss artificial intelligence with the Committee in late April, at the invitation of the chair, Lord Timothy Clement-Jones. 

His recommendations covered the economic, ethical and social implications of advances in artificial intelligence (AI), which fall within the Committee’s remit. 

The Committee was appointed on 29 June 2017, and is made up of 13 members of the House of Lords, tasked with investigating how AI can impact and shape economics and society, and the ethical considerations around the use of AI.

Professor Abdalla said, “I wanted to draw attention to the impact of AI on people’s life, and its positive real-life applications in the areas of image recognition, cancer research, applications around patient identifiers, and consumer behaviour in the retail sector.”

He continued, “I also discussed how AI is interacting with other newer and emerging technologies in the fields of machine learning and robotics, and the need to raise awareness of the benefits of how AI can enhance productivity, to help overcome the fear that AI and robotics are simply take over people’s jobs and increase unemployment.”    

Some of the examples Professor Abdalla cited included projects he is involved with and leading on, in the fields of AI in smart and future cities, Symbiotic simulation for automotive industry, brain-machine Interface, and  the optimisation of the design process of complex products.

The Committee also recently published ‘AI in the UK: ready, willing and able?’ following an inquiry of several months, which invited hundreds of specialists to submit written and oral evidence. 

The report makes a number of recommendations to enhance the use of AI. One of the recommendations of the report is for a cross-sector AI Code to be established, which can be adopted nationally, and internationally.

The chair of the Committee, Lord Clement-Jones, said, "The UK has a unique opportunity to shape AI positively for the public’s benefit and to lead the international community in AI’s ethical development, rather than passively accept its consequences.

"The UK contains leading AI companies, a dynamic academic research culture, and a vigorous start-up ecosystem as well as a host of legal, ethical, financial and linguistic strengths. We should make the most of this environment, but it is essential that ethics take centre stage in AI’s development and use."