Westminster eForum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
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The future for Artificial Intelligence in the UK

Morning, Wednesday, 7th July 2021

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

This conference will examine the next steps for taking forward the AI roadmap, and the future for artificial intelligence in the UK.

It is timed to feed in to the development of the Government’s planned National AI Strategy, and follows the publication of the AI Roadmap earlier this year from the AI Council, which provides recommendations for strategy - as well as the UKRI’s AI review setting out opportunities for unlocking its potential across the UK.

We are delighted to be able to include keynote contributions from: Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Regius Professor of Computer Science, Southampton University, and UK AI Skills Champion; Sana Khareghani, Deputy Director, Head of Office for Artificial Intelligence; and Jessica Smith, Deputy Director, Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation.

Areas for discussion include:

  • the AI roadmap - priorities for taking the roadmap forward, and next steps for developing a national strategy
  • AI-driven decision-making - tackling biases and improving transparency
  • the development of AI services - and priorities for developing the data infrastructure, research and development systems needed
  • establishing UK leadership - the UK’s role as a world leader in AI and emerging technology, and ensuring the availability of skills and resources

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from BEIS; the CMA; the DCMS; the DIT; the Geospatial Commission; the GLD; the HSE; HMRC; HM Treasury; the Home Office; the IPO; the Joint Air Quality Unit; MHCLG; MoJ; the NAO; Ofcom; The Scottish Government; the UK Space Agency and the Welsh Government - as well as parliamentary pass holders from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.

The agenda:

  • Taking forward the recommendations in the AI road map and feeding into the development of the UK National AI Strategy
  • Building public trust in AI - priorities for enhancing responsible innovation and effective governance
  • Addressing wider ethical considerations in the implementation of AI:
    • transparency and accountability in automated decision making
    • mitigating against algorithmic and coding bias
    • ensuring data protection by design
  • Bridging the AI skills gap - priorities for championing diversity and inclusion
  • Addressing practical barriers for adopting and utilising AI in key industries:
    • supporting the UK’s AI start up sector
    • attracting investment
    • priorities for cross-sector adoption
  • Policy priorities for shaping and delivering the UK National AI Strategy

A scan of relevant developments:

  • the National Strategy for AI - the Government’s plans to develop a national AI strategy following the AI roadmap
  • the AI Roadmap:
    • produced by the AI Council, an independent body made up of industry experts
    • including 16 recommendations to aid the UK Government in shaping the direction of a National AI Strategy, with recommendations falling into the following overarching sections:
      • research, development and innovation
      • skills and diversity
      • data, infrastructure and public trust
      • national, cross-sector adoption
  • AI Sector Deal - which includes:
    • AI technology being recognised as having transformative potential for the UK
    • estimates that leading countries could gain an extra 20-25% of economic growth and productivity through AI over the next decade
    • plans for investment spanning across the public and private sectors to assist the Government’s aim to be a global leader in the artificial intelligence ecosystem
  • Government response to the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence - with the Government considering what the Centre for Data Ethics’ future functions should be
    • the planned future functions of the CDEI, as set out in the National Data Strategy, are:
      • AI monitoring
      • partnership working
      • piloting and testing potential interventions in the tech landscape
    • with these being considered as part of the National Data Strategy consultation process, alongside the recommendations made in this report and internal policy work
  • Transforming our world with AI - the publication of the UKRI AI review, which sets out their view of the potential opportunities for unlocking the potential of research and innovation across the UK
  • CDEI Review into bias in algorithmic decision-making - including recommendations that:
    • Government should issue guidance that clarifies the application of the Equality Act to algorithmic decision-making
    • organisations should be actively using data to identify and mitigate bias
  • New review into use of health data for research and analysis - the DHSC review into use of health data for research and analysis, which will feed into the forthcoming Data Strategy for Health and Social Care
  • the EU’s plans to regulate “high-risk” artificial intelligence - as outlined in The European Commission’s proposed regulations published on 21st April 2021

Key areas for discussion:

The AI Roadmap - taking forward its recommendations and feeding into the development of the AI strategy, in areas such as:

  • public sector investment:
    • priorities for scaling up and supporting sustainable investment
    • how best to ensure long-term funding supports bodies, such as the Alan Turing Institute, to enable them to invest in strategic leadership
  • talent:
    • the impact of the post-Brexit immigration system on consistent access to talent from overseas
    • what is needed to make diversity and inclusion a priority in the sector
    • the commitment to a 10-year programme of high-level AI skill building to nurture talent in the UK
    • national models, such as how research institutes nationally can get the most out of the Turing AI research network
  • supporting the growth and use of AI - examining infrastructure priorities for enabling the increased use of artificial intelligence across the country and economy as a whole
  • cross-sector collaboration:
    • looking at experience so far of government collaboration with defence and security companies to ensure AI is available to assess and respond to defence and security needs
    • best practice for supporting SMEs and start-ups with the use of AI
    • using AI to meet challenges across the environment and healthcare

Public trust and ethical considerations - priorities for the implementation of AI as the UK aims for its AI regulatory framework to be a global leader in what is regarded as good governance:

  • impact of automated decision-making:
    • what can be done to address the societal impacts on social institutions
    • with discussion expected to focus on the labour market, education and welfare systems, the criminal justice system and the environment
  • increasing accountability - best practice for individual rights-based approaches to be supplemented to increase public confidence in the use of AI, especially in cases where the risks posed by the use of data techniques are collective and societal in nature
  • priorities for countering data bias - such as increasing coding transparency, and addressing the need for explainability within black box AI and deep learning algorithms
  • building a strong data protection regime - considering priorities to ensure it would be resilient in the face of potential opportunities for business-to-business data sharing

Bridging the skills gap - addressing practical barriers to national cross-sector adoption, and priorities for improving the practical understanding of AI within the wider national workforce:

  • accessibility - priorities for ensuring underrepresented groups are involved, and have access to the right training and investment necessary to achieve AI and data literacy
  • priorities for innovation - looking at:
    • what the public sector can learn from innovative start-ups who have used AI technology to disrupt key industries such as the food and grocery sector
    • what is needed to ensure that the technology developed is sustainable and future-proof
  • accessibility for all sectors - next steps, including assessing how SMEs can be encouraged in the initial adoption of AI, and supported through their use of AI technologies

The National AI Strategy:

  • implementation - priorities in taking the Strategy forward, and learning from other sectors that have taken transformative approaches in the utilisation of AI, such as NHSX
  • recognising practical applications - understanding what unlocking the potential of AI looks like in practice, and how it is used to address current practical challenges, such as to meet net-zero ambitions

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, and officials from BEIS; the Competition and Markets Authority; the DCMS; the Department for International Trade; the Geospatial Commission; the Government Legal Department; the Health and Safety Executive; HM Revenue & Customs; HM Treasury; the Home Office; the Intellectual Property Office; the Joint Air Quality Unit; Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government; Ministry of Justice; the National Audit Office; Ofcom; The Scottish Government; the UK Space Agency and the Welsh Government.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from other stakeholders in AI development including tech companies, investment groups, engineering firms, IT and software developers, law firms and patent attorneys, consultancy groups, social media companies, telecoms and media groups, market researchers, transport groups, as well as researchers in academia and higher education, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

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

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript 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 conferenc

Keynote Speaker

Sana Khareghani

Deputy Director, Head of Office for Artificial Intelligence

Keynote Speakers

Professor Dame Wendy Hall

Regius Professor of Computer Science, Southampton University, UK AI Skills Champion

Sana Khareghani

Deputy Director, Head of Office for Artificial Intelligence

Senior speaker confirmed from the Information Commissioner’s Office

Jessica Smith

Deputy Director, Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation


Stephen Metcalfe MP

Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence


Dr Angie Ma

Co-founder and Chief People Officer, Faculty

Natalia Domagala

Head of Data Ethics Policy, Cabinet Office

Dr Sam De Silva

Partner, CMS