At a glance

July 2018 - January 2019

Involve and DeepMind ran a series of three half-day roundtables in Autumn 2018 concentrating on public engagement, ethics, and artificial intelligence. ​

Given how many public engagement projects have launched recently on topics like automated decision-making and machine learning, these roundtables were designed to support those actively engaging on these topics, and to identify how best to bring forward the public voice to reach these decision-makers.

Through these roundtables we hoped to enable governments, industry, civil society and academia to take into account public aspirations and concerns in the development and deployment of artificial intelligence.

The roundtables focused in particular on public engagement around automated-decision making in public services and stakeholders engaged with the question of how to have an effective public debate about ethics and artificial intelligence.

Read the final report from the series here (PDF, 599kB)

Overall Purpose

To investigate what meaningful public engagement looks like around AI and ethics and explore how this can be built into decision-making by researchers, technologists & policymakers. 

Objectives of the Roundtables 

  • To create space for a collaborative conversation between a diverse group of stakeholders on the ethical questions raised by AI and various public engagement initiatives designed and launched in response to those questions

  • To provide a forum for stakeholders to build new links and conversations

  • To build a common understanding of how to engage with public perspectives on the ethics of AI

  • To identify further areas of research, collaboration and advocacy around public engagement with the ethics of AI

The roundtables took participants through a series of small group and plenary discussions involving expert stakeholders drawn from a wide range of different sectors who often do not discuss these issues together. 

The first roundtable mapped different perspectives on the research and deployment of AI and the impact it's having on society. 

Building on the insights generated, the second roundtable explored practical examples of engagement in this area and how we might begin to interpret the outcomes from a range of public engagement processes. 

The third roundtable drew these discussions together to support participating stakeholders to develop a shared understanding of the best ways to develop a public debate which is more effective at shaping the use of AI in public service delivery and next steps from this work. 

The roundtables were held during September, October and November 2018.

Key outputs from the roundtables include:

The creation of a space for a collaborative conversation between a diverse group of stakeholders on the ethical questions raised by automated decision-making. This supported new links and conversations between these stakeholders. In turn, the roundtables helped support them to discuss and start developing a common understanding of how to engage the public on the ethics of automated decision-making. The final report has outlined key recommendations of next steps for those interested in public engagement around AI.

Please see the briefing papers shared ahead of each of the roundtables and the final report from the series below for further information.

If you would like to find out more about this project, please don’t hesitate to contact us through Lizzie Adams on and Simon Burall on and keep an eye out for updates on social media, on this page and through our newsletter.