Parliament Street: Artificial Intelligence and Analytics – The Future?

In this week's opinion piece, EM360 Editor Max Kurton reviews a recent discussion at the Houses of Parliament around AI and analytics.

AI & Analytics

We recently attended an event hosted by the Parliament Street think tank, a panel discussion on the future of AI and analytics. Those in attendance ranged from data scientists through to university students looking to absorb as much knowledge as possible.

Chairing the discussion was Steven George-Hilley, founder of Centropy PR, who opened the debate with “do humans need to be at the core benefit of artificial intelligence?” The short answer is, yes. AI needs to be a tool that benefits humanity and helps us to move forward, making everyday life easier. However, we need people who can bring a breadth of skills to truly advance this field, having T-shaped people is thus key to the future success of AI.

As a result, creating jobs to further the development of AI is essential. Nevertheless, this also raises contentious issues regarding AI’s ability to displace jobs. In order to find out more, we talked to one of the speakers, Adam West of Satalia regarding his thoughts on the human/AI employment relationship.

Big Data and Ethics

It’s no secret that numerous tools harvest and analyse the data of consumers. This information helps companies target key areas and demographics, but who should own big data? Raymond Hounon, data & AI Business Manager at Microsoft, believes it should be the user that is in control. Hounon also attests that mechanisms need to be implemented in order to provide transparency into the data collection process. Adam West provided a valuable insight into how an organisation collects a person’s data and the subsequent moral obligations.

The final section of the debate focused on the ethical aspects of bias in AI. In effect, AI systems are only as good as the data they receive. Bad data can contain numerous issues due to the human aspect of implicit racial, gender or ideological biases. The consensus amongst the panel is that these issues of bias are common knowledge, and thus companies are now working to control it. Removing this bias in AI systems is essential to building trust between humans and machine learning. As these systems understand the human inconsistencies around decision-making, they can ultimately help us to adopt more impartial views.

Overall, the evening was a great success with a healthy back and forth around the questions from the audience. It is exciting to see how passionate everyone is about future capabilities and opportunities for AI and analytics. There is, of course, tentative hesitation around the ethical implications, how future organisations will control data, and what the legislation will look like. However, I think that the future is bright for AI and it will be interesting to see how this all unfolds over the coming months, years, and decades.

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