Shaping responsible development and governance in AI

AI tools are being increasingly adopted, however, concerns remain about their complex issues relating to trust, bias, privacy, and safety

As artificial intelligence (AI) tools become increasingly advanced, individuals and organisations are keen to implement them for a number of reasons, including enhanced efficiency, cutting costs, and assisting in human decision-making. However, a question that continues to arise: Are these tools truly prepared for real-world application? 

The widespread adoption of AI raises a number of complex issues related to trust, bias, privacy, and safety, and there seems to be no straightforward or universally agreed-upon answers. As AI continues to integrate further into our daily lives, a growing number of scholars, industries, and regular users are closely scrutinising the impact it has on society.

The area of AI ethics within academia has witnessed significant expansion over the past five years. It brings together engineers, social scientists, philosophers, and numerous other experts to delve into the ethical considerations of AI and its consequences.

Where are we seeing AI safety education taking priority?

One such institute that is proactively looking at the safety of AI as we move to the future is Northumbria University in the North East of England. In collaboration with Dynamo North East - an industry-led membership organisation with a core mission of ‘growing the North East tech economy’ - Northumbria University is set to host the first-ever summit for the North East, delving into the field of AI and the effects that it has on our lives in this time of profound technological transformation.

Dr Kimberley Hardcastle, Assistant Professor in Marketing and Dr Colin Richardson, Assistant Professor in Data Analytics, from Northumbria’s Newcastle Business School will host Dynamo Talks: The North East AI Safety Summit, and bring together businesses and organisations from across the North East, to discuss the use of AI in industry. 

The event which will feature a panel discussion with industry experts covering AI's opportunities, threats, ethics, regulation, and responsible development, will provide attendees, including like-minded individuals and professionals, with the opportunity to connect and influence AI policies for positive change.

Hardcastle explains: “I believe it is vital that we capture and articulate a regional voice on the opportunities and threats around AI for local people, organisations and businesses. Influencing AI regulation at Parliament is essential to ensure a prosperous and responsible AI-driven future for our region and beyond. 

“We are at a unique moment for technology. We haven't even dealt with the issues brought about by social media technologies, yet AI has the potential to create further societal problems that must be averted. We know that the best time to influence a medium is at the very beginning of its trajectory. We want to position the North East at the forefront of the global conversation on AI safety and this event at Northumbria is the first real opportunity to do this before the UK Government hosts the first Global AI Safety Summit next month.”

Awareness is key to shaping the future of AI

AI safety is paramount for the future implementation of the technology. In Milton Keynes, an AI safety summit at Bletchley Park in November is taking place, and similar to that of Northumbria, it aims to unite global leaders, top tech firms, and researchers, to establish safety measures for assessing and overseeing the most critical AI-related risks. While the strength of the UK’s AI industry lends weight to the summit, its primary focus is on convening global efforts on AI governance.

The summit is an opportunity for the UK to showcase that its AI industry is substantial enough to be an influential force in worldwide discussions, surrounding how AI technology should be developed and governed. 

The summit is an opportunity for the UK to showcase the influence of its AI industry in global discussions surrounding the development and governance of AI technology. Most impressively, the UK is already home to one of the world's leading AI research labs, Google DeepMind, which is renowned for its cutting-edge work in AI-related academia and is well-positioned to develop AI applications in public services, particularly in healthcare.

Although the summit is set to create awareness, for maximum impact, this cannot be a one-off event. However, if the UK can secure momentum for future efforts, it will demonstrate its ability to play a leading role in shaping the responsible development and implementation of one of the world’s most defining technologies of the 21st century. By taking on a "burden-sharing and problem-solving" role, the UK can help to ensure that AI is harnessed for the benefit of all.

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