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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.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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