Skip to Content
Tech policy

The UK is doubling down on AI ethics and fake news

January 25, 2018

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, British prime minister Theresa May says her country is taking aim at some of tech’s biggest issues.

Fighting fake news: A new UK national security unit, part of the nation’s defense program, will be “tasked with combating disinformation by state actors,” notes the Guardian. At Davos, May echoed previous comments by asking social-media firms to “step up to their responsibilities.”

Making AI moral: The Telegraph ($) says a UK Center for Data Ethics will try to make machine learning safe and ethical. It hopes to coordinate with other nations, and May says she hopes it will help Britain become a “world leader in innovation-friendly regulation.”

Warning to investors: The BBC reports that May has also urged investors to demand more from the firms they back, by “ensuring trust and safety issues are being properly considered.”

But: It’s unclear if the UK government will be able to truly shape global action on these topics, especially in AI, where the country is a relatively minor player compared with the US and China.

Deep Dive

Tech policy

How conservative Facebook groups are changing what books children read in school

Parents are gathering online to review books and lobby schools to ban them, often on the basis of sexual content.

Why can’t tech fix its gender problem?

A new generation of tech activists, organizers, and whistleblowers, most of whom are female, non-white, gender-diverse, or queer, may finally bring change.

How the idea of a “transgender contagion” went viral—and caused untold harm

A single paper on the notion that gender dysphoria can spread among young people helped galvanize an anti-trans movement.

The world is moving closer to a new cold war fought with authoritarian tech

At the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, Iran, Turkey, and Myanmar promised tighter trade relationships with Russia and China.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.