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  • Karin Rudolph

Moving into Action: Developing AI through an Ethical Lens.

By Karin Rudolph.

Founder Collective Intelligence and the Ethical Technology Network.

This Wednesday 15th of May I’m hosting a conference in Bristol that will bring together a group of experts to discuss the ethical considerations, risks and resources available to ensure the responsible development of Artificial Intelligence.

While AI has been around for decades, recent events have highlighted the need for regulations and ethical thinking around how we develop and use these technologies.

In 2018, the public became aware of the mass data collection and surveillance machinery behind Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, which raised concerns about privacy and political manipulation.

And more recently, at the end of 2022, the introduction of ChatGPT marked another watershed moment of uncertainty about the impact of AI on a global scale.

Regulating AI.

When it comes to regulating AI systems, significant milestones have been reached, such as the recent approval of the EU AI Act, executive orders and policies in the US, and new AI regulations in China and many other countries.

All around the world governments and civil society are recognising the potential risks and benefits of AI and are implementing new laws and strategies.

In the UK, the pro-innovation approach presents opportunities but also important challenges, as Emma Erskine-Fox one of our keynote speakers, explains:

“The UK’s approach is designed to encourage innovation, but striking the balance between fostering innovation in AI and protecting fundamental human rights will be a major challenge for the UK.

Whilst regulations try and keep up with advancements in AI, many businesses are uncertain of the rules and subsequent risks

We need to act at a regional level

The South West has the talent, ideas, and entrepreneurial spirit to develop groundbreaking innovations.

The region is an important technology cluster for sectors such as Fintech, Healthtech, Defence, Robotics, Aerospace, and Cybersecurity, and in addition to these innovations last year the government announced that one of the world’s fastest supercomputers, Isambard AI will have Bristol as a home.

“Isambard-AI, which will be Britain’s most advanced computer. Based at the University of Bristol, it is set to be 10 times faster than the UK’s current quickest machine” (1)

But despite its importance, the region still lacks access to the resources needed to ensure long-lasting impacts and benefits of AI and other emerging technologies.

Understanding Ethics, Risks and Safety of AI Systems.

Artificial Intelligence promises to enable new scientific discoveries and improve access to healthcare, education, and opportunities for society as a whole, and while these benefits can be considerable, there are also potential ethical risks and safety concerns that need to be addressed.

Discrimination, privacy concerns, risks to human autonomy, threats to democracy and global security, job displacements, and the high environmental costs of energy-hungry technologies have become issues that require decisive actions.

Alongside the evolving regulatory landscape,  a variety of organisations have been developing new standards, frameworks, and methodologies to deal with these issues.

While these are valuable resources that provide guidance, when it comes to implementation by SMEs and startups important challenges arise.

At a regional level, we lack a coherent strategy to implement the resources needed to ensure that the innovations we are designing today will have a positive impact at a human and environmental level.

It’s this realisation that motivated me to put together the region’s first Conference to ensure we are not left behind.

I’m very fortunate to have the support of an amazing network of friends and the support of great organisations that understand the urgency and complexity of this task.

In the words of the Bristol Digital Futures Institute 

"The conference aligns with our values and research areas; digital technologies have changed our world and we are working hard to better understand our sociotechnical futures"

This is only the beginning, as the conference will see the launch of a pioneering initiative to provide the support businesses will need to navigate these uncertain times.

Come and join us!

The AI Ethics, Risks and Safety Conference is kindly sponsored by TLT LLPBristol Digital Futures Institute and PwC and it’s taking place on Wednesday 15th May at the Watershed in Bristol.

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