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Developing artificial intelligence technologies in the UK

Morning, Thursday, 10th September 2020

Online Conference

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference focuses on AI technologies in the UK.

We are delighted to include keynote contributions from: Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Regius Professor of Computer Science, University of Southampton; AI Skills Champion for the UK and Chair, Ada Lovelace Institute; Sana Khareghani, Head, Office for Artificial Intelligence and James Wise, Partner, Balderton Capital.

Delegates will discuss developments so far and priorities going forward for:

  • supporting the UK’s commercial AI sector
  • putting in place data standards and infrastructure
  • addressing key ethical issues

We also expect discussion on the contribution of AI to the work going on to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, and what can be learned and taken forward from the response of the sector in areas such as responsiveness, agility and collaboration.

Developments that are relevant to the discussion:

Policy progress and developments

Guidance for users of AI

Ethics and trust

Publications from the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI), including:

  • an interim report on algorithmic bias
  • the final report on online targeting
  • a series of papers on issues of public concern in AI ethics, as well as the conclusion of the Open Data Institute’s three pilot data trust projects last year
  • the recent CDEI AI Barometer report- which updates analysis of the most urgent opportunities, risks, and governance challenges associated with AI and data use, and identified:

    • priority fields with work to do to maximise the benefits of AI, including social media moderation, fraud detection, clinical diagnosis support, and the finance and insurance sectors
    • risks including algorithmic bias, lack of clarity and understanding over algorithmic decision making, and lack of consent around data collection and use
    • moves that would facilitate wider uptake of AI technologies, including increasing public trust through greater transparency around AI and data use, and improving the quality and availability of data

Skills and the talent pipeline

  • the Centres for Doctoral Training programme for AI PhDs
  • the recent announcement from the Government that 2,500 new places on AI and data science conversion courses will be open to applicants from Autumn 2020 - with 1,000 scholarships specifically targeting students from under-represented backgrounds
  • developments in the Government’s proposals for immigration policy going forward

The discussion in detail:

Data protection, transparency, trust and tackling bias

  • mitigating potential risks to personal data and privacy associated with AI across the public and private sectors
  • increasing the availability of data sets for use in AI development, including:

    • personal data such as healthcare records, as well as systems data
    • balancing openness with ethical and privacy considerations
  • how best to achieve transparency with respect to AI-driven decision-making
  • addressing bias in algorithmic decision-making, and its replication when resulting data sets are re-used
  • the wider applicability of the data trust concept and how it might be rolled out across further use cases and sectors of the economy

Infrastructure for AI

  • putting in place the data infrastructure necessary to support the development of AI technologies in the UK
  • securing the availability of large, high-quality and consistently-formatted data sets

R&D in the UK

  • funding for research and development in the UK, including from public sector to support research in UK universities and other institutions
  • the way forward for fostering collaboration between universities and commercial organisations
  • the future role for university start-up incubator programmes
  • developing models for commercialising academic research in AI

Skills, education and the talent pipeline

  • progress of the Centres for Doctoral Training programme, as well as the delivery of AI Masters courses
  • attracting talent from overseas and retaining talent in the UK - including the potential implications of the Government’s proposals for the future immigration system
  • key priorities for increasing the diversity of the UK’s tech sector

Key considerations for public-sector bodies

  • transparency
  • accountability
  • recognising the present limitations of the technology

The UK’s commercial AI sector

Priorities for development, including:

  • driving investment in UK artificial intelligence start-ups and scale-ups, and what more is needed from policymakers and public sector bodies, as well as from investors and venture capital firms
  • increasing the availability and diversity of funding sources and better connecting them with AI ventures
  • priorities for AI start-ups themselves in establishing themselves as attractive and viable investment prospects
  • increasing the availability of business support resources for UK AI ventures


The role of AI in the response, including:

  • efforts underway to develop contact-tracing mobile applications utilising AI technologies
  • development of predictive computer models of the course of the outbreak
  • what further benefits AI technologies might offer in developing responses to the pandemic and exit strategies - both in the UK and internationally

The agenda:

  • Developing the UK’s AI sector - progress so far and next steps for policy
  • Addressing key ethical concerns around artificial intelligence:

    • Auditing the handling and use of data in AI development and assessing the key implications for privacy and data protection
    • Addressing algorithmic bias in artificial intelligence - developing and promulgating best practice
    • Key legal and regulatory implications of the widespread uptake of AI technologies
    • Increasing opportunities for under-represented groups in the AI and digital workforce
  • Research and development in AI technologies in the UK - funding, collaboration between universities and industry, and the talent pipeline
  • Funding and investment in AI start-ups and scale-ups in the UK
  • Priorities for developing the UK’s commercial AI sector

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

Interest from government is particularly strong for this conference. Places have been reserved by officials from BEIS; the Cabinet Office; HM Treasury; the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation; DCMS; CIDD; the Competition and Markets Authority; the Department for International Trade; the Department for Transport; the Department of Health and Social Care; DFID; the DWP; GCHQ; HMCTS; HM Revenue & Customs; the Home Office; the Intellectual Property Office; the Maritime and Coastguard Agency; Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency; MHCLG; the Ministry of Defence; the National Audit Office; the National Crime Agency; the National Cyber Security Centre; The Scottish Government; the UK Space Agency and the Welsh Government.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Professor Dame Wendy Hall

Regius Professor of Computer Science, University of Southampton; AI Skills Champion for the UK and Chair, Ada Lovelace Institute

James Wise

Partner, Balderton Capital

Keynote Speakers

Sana Khareghani

Head, Office for Artificial Intelligence

Professor Dame Wendy Hall

Regius Professor of Computer Science, University of Southampton; AI Skills Champion for the UK and Chair, Ada Lovelace Institute

James Wise

Partner, Balderton Capital


Sir Mark Hendrick MP

Vice-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence

Stephen Metcalfe MP

Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence and Officer, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Diversity and Inclusion in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths


Senior speaker confirmed from the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation

Dhruv Ghulati

Chief Executive Officer, Factmata

David Frank

UK Government Affairs Manager, Microsoft UK

Dr David Snelling

Fujitsu Fellow and Programme Director, Artificial Intelligence, Fujitsu

Senior speaker confirmed from the Information Commissioner’s Office

Cerys Wyn Davies

Partner, Pinsent Masons

Jeni Tennison

Vice President and Chief Strategy Advisor, Open Data Institute

Daniel Conway

Director of External Affairs, Publishers Association

Mark Martin

Founder, UK Black Tech