Set up by the government in 2018, the CDEI has a unique remit: to help the UK navigate the ethical challenges presented by AI and data-driven technology. We are led by an independent board of experts from across industry, civil society, academia and government. CDEI publications do not represent government policy or advice.
One of the core building blocks of the CDEI’s COVID-19 response is our repository - a database for novel use-cases of artificial intelligence and data specifically being used to counter and mitigate the effects of COVID-19 around the world. The third release of the repository can be found here.
As part of this month’s release, we have added in some of the key findings from the CDEI’s survey of public attitudes towards the use of technology to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.
We will continue to update the repository on a regular basis, publishing an updated snapshot each month with any new use-cases that have been brought to our attention. To that end, we strongly encourage anyone who has visibility of developments we are yet to identify to contribute to the database. Further use-cases can be sent to email@example.com, which will be monitored by members of the CDEI team.
Key findings from the June repository
- Although the majority (70%) of the use-cases we have added over the last month are still related to health and social care, the focus has moved away from managing the immediate public health crisis and towards building future resilience.
- This includes a number of cases of building infrastructure to enable improved care (e.g. the creation of a centralised UK database containing chest images from X-Ray, CT and MRI scans), as well as infrastructure for safe health data sharing (e.g. a new secure analytics platform for electronic health records, which will allow trusted researchers to safely run large-scale computation across these records).
- We have also seen a growth in the number of use-cases of AI for non-COVID-19-related healthcare (e.g. using algorithms for identifying skin cancer outside of a hospital setting).
- This is a trend we expect to continue as healthcare practitioners aim to reduce delays in cancer detection and treatment caused by the ongoing public health crisis.
- We are also starting to see industry looking toward using AI and machine learning systems, as well as changing data sharing practices to overcome global supply chain disruption caused by COVID-19.
- The relaxation of barriers to data sharing continues to be a key finding throughout the repository.
Public attitudes survey
- As part of our work on the use of technology to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, the CDEI has additionally commissioned a monthly survey of public attitudes towards such use-cases.
- Key findings relating to our repository can be found here, but an overview is as follows:
- A majority of respondents (73%) said that they believe digital technology has the potential to be used in the response to COVID-19.
- However, when asked about technologies that are currently being used, just 42% believe that they are currently making the situation better.
- But only 6% think that technology is making the situation worse.
- When provided with a selection of use-cases (as one example, the use of personal data to inform local lockdowns) from the repository, awareness amongst the public was generally low for each example. However, the potential of these use-cases was recognised, with 70% of respondents believing they could be helpful in dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak or its aftermath.
- Finally, respondents seemed at relative ease about the use of data-driven technology to combat COVID-19, with 65% of respondents feeling either very or quite relaxed about their use in their local areas.
- Full results from the survey will be published at a later date, alongside further key findings.