Charities should be deployed as "ethical guardians" of the development of artificial intelligence to ensure the unintended consequences for society are minimised, according to the Charities Aid Foundation.
In its submission to the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence, CAF says charities should have a voice in the debate about how AI is used in the workplace and how society should adapt to mass automation.
It says this should include allowing charities to play a central role as "ethical guardians" when systems to oversee the use of AI are created and ensure unintended consequences from the use of the technology are minimised.
CAF says in its submission that it wants charities to receive support to develop the skills and resources to take advantage of AI in addressing social and environmental issues.
AI can also affect the work of charities by causing new social problems that charities will need to address, CAF’s submission says, but could also help charities to find new solutions to existing social issues.
CAF’s submission says AI could offer charities new ways to work more efficiently and effectively, and even help to create new ways of achieving social good that could eventually replace traditional charities.
Rhodri Davies, leader of CAF’s Giving Thought think tank, said: "Artificial intelligence is already having a huge impact on all of us, even if we don't realise it, and it seems set to transform all aspects of our lives in years to come.
"Charities must get to grips with AI, not only because they could benefit enormously in terms of their own work, but also because they could play a vital role in minimising some of the risks associated with this evolving technology.
"Government and the private sector must work with charities to ensure they get the benefit of their expertise in tackling social and environmental issues caused by the development of AI applications. Now is the time to get involved, as the pace of development of this technology is accelerating and there is a risk that charities and those they seek to help will get left behind."