Last week saw us host the first in a series of events with Bettakultcha, where we delve into some of society’s most thought-provoking issues, using Bettakultcha’s unique short and snappy presentation format: 5 minutes, 20 slides, 15 seconds per slide.
Compered by Bettakultcha co-founder Ivor Tymchak, four speakers presented their views on the controversial topic of AI Technology, considering whether this innovation is equally good and bad for society.
With seemingly boundless potential, AI technology is an essential part of the technology industry, but with its inclusion in everyday life in its infancy, we challenged our speakers, and audience, to think about AI’s impact on society, now and in the future, and answer: is it good or bad?
First up was Tim Difford, Global Technology Strategist for Microsoft, who explored the opportunity for AI to positively accentuate our human capabilities, across vision, language, speech, search and knowledge. To achieve this, he believes that human ethics need to be at the heart of any AI advancements. He suggested that six key principles need to be observed to achieve ethical AI: automation, transparency, accountability, privacy, bias and inclusion.
Paul Hallett, co-founder of Vet-AI, was next up and looked at how AI technology could change the future of the workplace. With an estimated one in two jobs susceptible to computerisation, many people’s perception is that AI will take over the need for human labour. However, Paul believes that we should be looking at AI as a way to solve some of our biggest problems, including the pressures and stress that come from the workplace. Paul thinks that AI has the potential to support the human role, not overtake it. AI will take care of the uninspiring, mundane tasks, leaving humans to do what they do best: be creative and bring meaningful perspective to the workplace.
Paul Smith, Deputy MD at YPO, took a different stance, looking at the products and services that have been born out of AI technology. He posed the question: is AI fuelling consumerism and encouraging us to buy more things that we quite simply do not need? As AI advances, there will be an explosion of products born out of AI coming to market. But do we really need them? He also raised concerns about how AI is using our data to make recommendations on products and services to purchase, based purely on our internet browsing – sometimes with hilarious results!
Finally, Steve Manthorp, from the University of Leeds’ Cultural Institute, took us on an AI creative arts journey, looking at how AI has been influencing art over the years and what impact this has on everything from paintings, poetry and even music. He asked should artists be worried by the potential for AI to create art. His answer was yes, especially when a piece of AI art recently sold at auction for over £300K.
The mix of thought-provoking talks left the audience with much to digest, deliberate over and debate. Thanks to everyone who joined us, we hope to see you at our next event in the ‘Nexus & Bettakultcha presents’ series which will take place in June. Stay tuned to our social media channels to find out the next topic.