Introduction

The Alan Turing Institute – the national institute for data science and artificial intelligence (AI) – has unveiled its new programme for AI UK, a national showcase of the very best of UK academic work in AI. 

The Institute's highly anticipated two-day event, held on 23 – 24 March 2021, will bring together leading thinkers, innovative businesses and third sector specialists.

Convening the UK's AI community

The online event will convene the UK’s data science and AI community and highlight the contributions that AI has made in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will explore emerging technologies and how these will shape our post-pandemic world.  

One of the key sessions will examine how data science and AI can be used to build resilience in the time of COVID-19; using applications of AI and data science to bolster and improve mental health provision, defence, and other key services to UK society. 

As well as showcasing developments in science, the new programme reflects changes in the political landscape over the last year. A wide range of critical issues will be addressed at AI UK, such as ensuring AI is a force for social good and highlighting the importance of diversity and inclusion following the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Ofqual A-level and GCSE grading controversy. The session, Doing better in data science will ask the central question, “How can our community continue to do better and ensure AI is for everyone?” 

The two interactive stages at AI UK will include panels and presentations from expert UK academics, policy makers, and industry leaders. There will also be roundtable discussions, hands-on machine learning demonstrations and activities, and opportunities to chat and interact throughout the day.  

The themes and content are structured around the national AI research challenges identified by the Turing, the role of AI post-COVID-19 and the important key themes of the UK AI Council’s Roadmap. 

Other pertinent issues addressed at the event include: 

  • The use of technology to forecast and mitigate against climate change;  
     
  • The UK AI Roadmap – Delegates will be able to hear and engage with the UK AI Council as they examine how we can build public trust in AI, and the role of the roadmap in making real impact for the UK’s communities; 
     
  • Mental health – Following 12 months of lockdown life, the UK is arguably facing the challenge of a new epidemic in the form of a wide range of mental health issues. Our panel of mental health and AI experts will talk about the current research and applications of AI and data science in this field; 
     
  • Bridging the AI skills gap – Will the skills we are cultivating today be enough to bring the UK into the future?  

The Turing is proud to confirm a wide range of renowned speakers, panellists, influencers and contributors who will take to the stage at AI UK, including: 

  • Tabitha Goldstaub, Co-Founder of CognitionX and Chair of the AI Council for the UK government's Office for AI. Tabitha is an advocate for increased diversity in the industry. 
     
  • Dame Wendy Hall, leading computer scientist, Regius Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton, and co-author of the UK’s landmark AI review published in 2017. 
     
  • Professor Dame Lynn Gladden is the Executive Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Dame Gladden is also the Shell Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. 
     
  • Priya Lakhani is the Founder CEO of CENTURY, the award-winning AI education technology company. 
     
  • Professor Charlotte Deane, Deputy Executive Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and COVID-Response Director of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). 
     
  • Ray Eitel-Porter is Managing Director, Applied Intelligence Lead UK at Accenture. He chairs the government’s Data Skills Taskforce and sits on techUK’s Big Data & Analytics Council. 
     
  • Dr Kate Devlin, Senior Lecturer in Social and Cultural Artificial Intelligence at King's College London. Her research in Human-Computer Interaction and AI investigates how people interact with and react to technologies. Author of Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots. 
     
  • Professor Gavin Shaddick, Turing Fellow at the University of Exeter. Professor Shaddick is a prominent spokesperson in the media as an expert on the role of data science and AI in addressing the challenges associated with environmental change. 
     
  • Timandra Harkness, writer, comedian and broadcaster. She has written for The Telegraph, Sunday Times, WIRED, BBC Focus and more and her work on BBC Radio 4 includes the documentaries The Singularity and Data, Data Everywhere. Author of the book Big Data: Does Size Matter? 
     
  • Lord Tim Clement Jones, a consultant of global law firm DLA Piper and Chair of Ombudsman Services Limited, the not-for-profit ombudsman service. He is the former Chair of the House of Lords Select Committee on AI and Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on AI. 
     
  • Jeni Tennison, Vice President and Chief Strategy Adviser of the Open Data Institute. She is also the co-chair of the Data Governance Working Group within the Global Partnership on AI. 

Professor Adrian Smith, Institute Director and Chief Executive, said: “We are in the middle of an AI revolution. On a weekly basis we are witnessing the development of AI systems that would have been unthinkable at the turn of the century. It is an exciting moment for the UK to build on our strong tradition of AI innovation and to harness our technical and ethical expertise to change the world for the better. Even amidst the great upheaval of the past year, these new AI techniques, products and services are reshaping the way we live and work. As we set our sights ahead to our post-pandemic future, ensuring that these technologies work for everyone and our planet will be a defining moment for our time and for our nation."

Registration is open for AI UK – book your tickets and find out more about the event. 

The full programme will be announced mid-February 2021. 

Join the conversation on social media using #AIUK