A smart move: The imperative of an AI and technology committee in parliament | Rebekah Borg

By acknowledging our fears, updating our laws, bridging the digital gap, and collaborating internationally, we can ensure that AI and technology serve as tools for progress and prosperity

The fears surrounding AI are genuine concerns but instead of succumbing to them, it's our responsibility to confront them head-on
The fears surrounding AI are genuine concerns but instead of succumbing to them, it's our responsibility to confront them head-on

Our generation and those before us have witnessed the world transform before our very eyes. Some of us may nostalgically argue that things were better before, but the truth is, we cannot turn back time. Embracing progress is a natural step in humanity's journey – it is about fulfilling our evolving needs as a species. 

We have reached this stage by exploring new ways of thinking and expanding the imaginative bounds of the human species. And this journey will continue. When humans face challenges, they naturally seek solutions. Technological progress is a testament to our drive to innovate and overcome barriers, making today's activities more effective, easier, and better than yesterday's. 

The fears surrounding AI – whether about job security, data privacy, or the digital divide between generations – are genuine concerns experienced by people worldwide. Instead of succumbing to these fears, it's our responsibility to confront them head-on. 

A practical step toward addressing these concerns is the establishment of an AI and Technology Parliamentary Committee. This committee would serve as a dedicated platform for informed discussions, expert consultations, and comprehensive research on AI and technology-related matters. 

Moreover, this committee would play a pivotal role in updating our existing laws. Let's face it – our current legal framework is outdated and ill-equipped to handle the complexities of AI. We need legislation that not only safeguards our citizens' rights but also encourages innovation and growth. By creating a committee focused on these issues, we can ensure our laws are relevant, effective, and capable of adapting to the ever-changing technological landscape. 

This committee would address crucial topics such as adapting education to nurture transferable skills, safeguarding intellectual property, ensuring employment stability in a rapidly evolving job market, addressing online addiction concerns, and championing the right to establish boundaries in our digital lives. Such a committee would provide the platform needed to shape a progressive and inclusive technological landscape. 

Another critical aspect we cannot overlook is the digital divide. While the younger population may be tech-savvy, many of our seniors are not as comfortable navigating the digital world. It is imperative that alternative options and support systems are in place to bridge this gap. The AI and Technology Parliamentary Committee can lead initiatives to provide training programmes and accessible tech support, ensuring everyone, regardless of age, can participate in the digital age. 

Furthermore, our efforts should extend beyond national borders. Technology knows no boundaries, and collaboration with the international community is essential. By actively engaging with other countries, we can establish global standards and ethical guidelines for the development and deployment of AI. This collaborative approach will not only benefit our nation but also contribute to a harmonious global technological ecosystem. 

The establishment of an AI and Technology Parliamentary Committee is not just a smart move; it's a leap toward a future where innovation is balanced with responsibility. By acknowledging our fears, updating our laws, bridging the digital gap, and collaborating internationally, we can ensure that AI and technology serve as tools for progress and prosperity. 

If society has changed around us, it is our duty as a legislative institution to take a step forward and update ourselves with the times. If we stop advancing, we stagnate. It is time for our parliament to embrace this smart move and navigate the future together.

Rebekah Borg is a PN MP and spokesperson for lands and consumer rights