Interrogating artificial intelligence
The South’s first major conference looking at the practical application of artificial intelligence as a driver of future organisational best practice took place on 11 September at Southampton Science Park. The event drew a large audience from across the commercial and public sector spectrums.
The global race to embrace artificial intelligence and machine learning is on. Potentially worth £billions to the economy, AI has been identified by government as one of the grand challenges that the UK must rise to, to secure its future success on the world stage.
Speakers from the spheres of medicine, transportation, finance and retail revealed the status, the challenges and the potential of deploying artificial intelligence in their respective areas. Common themes around enhancing and personalising customer experiences, the ability for machines to enhance human decision making and the responsible use of data were universal. However, in acknowledging these challenges, what became evident is that they won’t be solved by computer scientists: multi-disciplinary teams which put humans at the heart of the problem that AI is trying to solve are going to be critical to success.
In an illuminating presentation, author, IBM inventor and innovation leader Lyndsay Herbert, delivered a very clear message. “Huge amounts of money are being wasted by companies trying to create the ultimate ‘digital experience’ but the focus needs to be on the ‘human experience’ if we are to solve some of the biggest issues that we face around the globe,” she said. “Those that own the data, own the future and this cannot be a select few people in positions of power that are motivated by profit rather than problem solving. Technology must evolve with the human experience and big, worthy problems at its core,”
Hosting the event, Dr Robin Chave, Interim CEO at the Science Park, commented: “We were delighted to see so many representatives from so many commercial sectors attending today’s event. It demonstrated the curiosity, indeed the mystery, which surrounds the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning – technology that, without a shadow of a doubt, is going to have significant impacts across the whole of society.”
He continued: “I extend my gratitude to the amazing speakers and panellists who bought the possibilities of AI to life and I hope that delegates emerged with ideas for innovating in their respective fields while ensuring that they start off on the right foot, both commercially and ethically.”