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Reflections on AI UK

Reflections from The Alan Turing Institute’s AI UK

AI is already transforming the way we work and live. But can it make us safer? Our team went to the UK’s national showcase of data science and artificial intelligence - AI UK - hosted by our long-term partners The Alan Turing Institute to investigate

The programme for this year’s AI UK was modelled around the UK Government’s Office for Science and Technology’s strategic priorities, and promised an in-depth exploration of how data science and AI can be used to solve real-world challenges.  

Some of the main topics of conversation over the two days: 

  • Digital twins 
  • Innovation 
  • AI governance and regulation 
  • Ethics and perception of AI 

Lloyd’s Register Foundation have a long-standing relationship with The Alan Turing Institute, collaborating to establish the Data Centric Engineering programme in 2015 - bringing together international thought leaders to ensure that advances in mathematics, computer science and big data can be applied to improve the safety and efficiency of critical infrastructure. 

Alongside the Data Centric Engineering programme, the Foundation were directly involved in AI UK 2023 in a variety of capacities. 

Jan Przydatek, the Foundation’s Director of Technologies, attended a workshop on digital twins with a diverse mix of AI experts from academia and industry. The workshop was moderated by the Turing Research and Innovation Cluster on Digital Twins, an initiative established to democratise access to digital twin technology by providing freely available tools to the UK research and innovation community.  

Jan said, “It was interesting observing the dynamic between academia and industry during the roundtable – and how we need to work together to ensure digital twin technology is effectively and equitably implemented.”  

Jan was also part of the judging panel for The Alan Turing Institute’s ‘PitchFest’ – a new format of event where Turing researchers had 90 seconds to pitch an idea that turns their research into a business opportunity. The pitches ranged from using AI to help radiologists in the detection of ovarian tumours, to using AI tools to tackle global human trafficking by using more accurate algorithms using local context from the areas where people are trafficked from. 

With AI chatbots offering a glimpse into the way we will operate at work and at school in the future, the conversation on ethics and perceptions of AI has never been more relevant. This speaks to the findings from the 2021 World Risk Poll report on perceptions of risk from AI and misuse of personal data.  

Ed Morrow, Senior Campaign Manager for the World Risk Poll, was present at many of the talks around AI risks, ethics and governance. He said “When applied correctly, AI has huge potential to increase the safety of people around the world. However, there are also significant risks involved, particularly when those applying it are over-reliant on the technology and so are unable to identify or mitigate errors. As communicators, it is important that we portray the risks and benefits of AI technologies in a balanced and accessible way, so we can increase understanding, encourage safe adoption and ensure AI benefits rather than harms society in the long run.” 

The Foundation-funded Assuring Autonomy International Programme at the University of York were also present – engaging with the regulators and policy makers involved in ensuring the safe governance and regulation of emerging AI technologies. 

 To find out more about AI UK, visit The Alan Turing Institute website. To view more of our work in this space, explore our Safety of Digital Systems homepage.

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