AI Summit
November 10, 2023

What’s your answer for the AI Summit’s challenge?

By Paul Laughlin

I’m sure you noticed in the news last week, coverage of the AI Summit hosted by the UK Government at Bletchley Park. It seems very appropriate to hold the event at the home of those who broke the Nazi’s Enigma Code. Who or what approach can help decode the right way forward with AI?

The theme of the event was billed as AI Safety. Its goal was to encourage commitments by governments and tech developers to achieve such innovation safely, with sufficient protections to protect humans from negative risks. Despite the cringe-making interview with Elon Musk, the consensus review in the media appears to be that the event was a success. It achieved both a validation of the UK’s leading place globally in developing thinking on AI regulation & ethics and the start of collaborations (more like letters of intent) to guide the way to more accountable (tested) developments.

Given all that, I have reached out to our normal panel of guest bloggers with this challenge: If you had received a surprise invite to the AI Summit, what advice would you have shared? What do you recommend is needed as the way forward with AI development for society? In the coming weeks, I will share their responses in a series of guest blog posts. But, first, let me share my perspective on this societal challenge. Perhaps one that should be key for the next election (as it has been too neglected).

Learning from those who have thought about this issue

My view on this topic is informed by having attended a webinar on the same topic hosted by the Financial Times just a few days before the Summit. It proved to be a very well-informed conversation. Hosted by the chair of the FT’s Business Book award, the other guests had all written on technology innovations.

Many valid points were made. The need to balance the space for innovation with sufficient regulation, so as not to put off investment in the sector. The need to invest in and to some extent protect smaller pioneers with a greater social purpose or mandate. Being aware of the risk that new developments (and thus standards) are dictated by the FAANG companies. The leader from Mozilla made some great points about the focus needed on data quality, privacy & the avoidance of bias.

It was a question that I raised with the speakers which prompted my insight. I asked them whether they agreed that initiatives like Data Literacy should be a priority for government & business collaborations. As well as agreeing with my premise, they provided a useful build on my thinking. They all highlighted that data literacy by itself will not be enough going forward. AI Literacy is needed as well. The gold standard will build on past progress with data privacy education around GDPR & data literacy efforts since then; to educate their communities on AI and its potential and risks. Enabling more voices to take part in such decisions going forward.

How can this blog help, what have we shared already?

To further help you prepare for thinking about the wisdom shared by our guest bloggers, let me share what is available already. What I mean by that sentence is that this topic has not ‘come from nowhere’. For years on this blog, we have been sharing resources & advice about both AI and data Literacy. Helping readers understand what they are and what has helped others prepare for the future.

Here is a short curation of posts that I would recommend you take a look at on both topics.

Posts to help you consider the reality of AI development and how to prepare for the future:

Posts to help you design effective Data or AI Literacy campaigns:

Should you be invited to any future AI Summit?

I hope this topic is of interest and relevant to your planning. Even if you are not one of our existing guest bloggers, I would love to hear from you if you have a contribution to make to this debate. Please comment below to let me know if you’d like to share a perspective for our wider AI Summit.

Let’s collaborate as data leaders to broaden this debate and those participating. More to follow on that and other risks (plus benefits) of AI developments over the coming weeks. Keep safe.