Events shine light on our AI future

Leading experts from the worlds of science, politics and civil society will debate the future of AI in the latest Edinburgh Futures Conversations Series event.

Speakers at the Future of AI event

The panel will focus on what artificial intelligence could look like in the future. The series will also develop ideas for what is needed to advance the collective ability to put AI to the best possible use.

The in-person event will take place in the University’s Playfair Library on 6 March, from 6-8pm.

The discussion will be live streamed and is open to all. Tickets to the in-person event are available on a first come, first serve basis and must be booked in advance.

Book Tickets

AI workshops

The event will build on a series of workshops exploring different visions of our AI future, hearing specifically from the voices of people and communities that are traditionally underrepresented.

Against the ideas developed in these workshops, the panel will discuss questions such as, who will determine our AI future, how AI and humanity can evolve alongside each other, what being human in an AI world will mean, and how AI-driven economies and societies will work.

AI has already started to affect our everyday lives, and hopes and anxieties around AI are running high, with some predicting that further development of AI will put us on a path to human extinction while others believe it will usher in a new era of compassion, non-violence, and prosperity. Rather than providing principles for what AI itself “should be like”, we aim to focus on what an “AI-ready” society should look like, and into new ideas for how we might work towards building this future.

Professor Michael RovatsosProfessor of Artificial Intelligence and Director of The Bayes Centre, the University of Edinburgh

Participating academics

Participants in the Future of AI event include leading academics, lawyers and writers, including:

Petra Molnar, a lawyer and anthropologist specializing in technology, migration, and human rights, and co-author of 'Bots at the Gate,' an internationally recognized report on the human rights impacts of automated decision-making in immigration and refugee systems.

Kate Crawford, Research Professor at USC Annenberg, and Senior Principal Researcher at MSR in New York. Her latest book, Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence was described as “a fascinating history of data” by the New Yorker.

Stuart Russell, Professor of Computer Science at the University of California at Berkeley. His book ’Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach’ (with Peter Norvig) is the standard text in AI, used in 1500 universities in 135 countries.

Pascale Fung, Chair Professor at the Department of Electronic & Computer Engineering at The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST), elected Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), elected Fellow of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL), a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and an elected Fellow of the International Speech Communication Association.

William Isaac, Senior Research Scientist on DeepMind’s Ethics and Society Team focusing on fairness and governance of AI systems, and formerly an Open Society Foundations Fellow and Research Advisor for the Human Rights Data Analysis Group.

Chairing the event is Michael Rovatsos, Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh where he also heads up the Bayes Centre, the University’s Data Science and AI innovation hub.

Between Two Waters

The Futures Conversations Series also presents a show that will delve into the complex process of human-machine coexistence.

‘Between Two Waters’ will explore the relationship between humans and machines through a dynamic dance between a dancer and a robot.

The performance aims to challenge that narrative by depicting robots in unconventional, non-technological forms.

The event takes place from 6pm on Wednesday 8 March at Inspace on Crichton Street.

Futures Series

The Future of AI event is the fourth in the Edinburgh Futures Conversations Series, organised by the Edinburgh Futures Institute, following events focusing on health, the economy, and climate justice. 

Related links

The Future of AI – Book Tickets

Future of AI events 

Edinburgh Futures Institute