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Published on June 5, 2018

Artificial intelligence – What do the public really think about its potential impact?

Citizens & science

By Simon Burall

Simon Burall is a Senior Associate of Involve. He has extensive experience in the fields of democratic reform, governance, public participation, stakeholder engagement, and accountability and transparency.

Emerging technologies, from artificial intelligence to drones, are going to have wide-ranging effects on the lives of everyone. There are many conversations and inquiries looking at public interest in the development of AI and associated technologies and yet, so few directly engage with the public. Where are the voices of ordinary people in the conversation about how these technologies should develop?

We are therefore supporting Nesta to deliver a one-day public dialogue. This will explore how members of the public might approach some of the biggest questions around this area – and the values underpinning their decisions.

We will have a table of people working actively on policy questions relevant to this field who will take part in the process alongside the members of the public. These include professionals from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Alan Turing Institute,  the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) & Nesta.

Participants will be walked through the process of building algorithms and what their potential applications could be before delving deeper into the social issues and questions on this area.

A hypothetical but realistic case study will be used to demonstrate how algorithms can inform decision-making in the public sector. The case study will be focused on a health care issue that brings in many different ethical questions and factors for participants to consider.

We hope to achieve three things through this dialogue:

  • Contribute to wider public debate on controversial new technologies
  • Help policymakers to understand public priorities in these areas
  • Directly inform research strategies/ethical frameworks

The findings from this workshop will be gathered into a final report produced by Nesta which will be shared publicly – keep checking back on this page, our twitter and sign up to our newsletter to stay informed.

This forms part of our wider Citizens & Science work – take a look here if you would like to find out more.

Photo credit: Jeff Jackowski

One Response to “Artificial intelligence – What do the public really think about its potential impact?”

  1. Riddy
    June 6, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    Nice initiative! Demystifying AI through education will go a long way in making people see how AI will make their lives better and also help improve the quality and safety of algorithms and applications since few scientists cannot properly understand the needs of society as well as the people themselves

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