ORBIT contributes to moving the global technological agenda towards social good at the Web Summit

With more than 70,000 attendees over a four-day period, the Web Summit in Lisbon brought together politicians, technologists, and NGOs to think together, exchange views and set priorities.

With more than 70 dedicated discussions and panels, AI was one of the hot topics on the summit’s agenda and high on everyone’s priority list. A wide range of topics on AI and society were covered. Discussions ranged from tech presentations on how to develop better AI to existential debates on its implications for the environment and for humanity.

ORBIT was represented at the event by Professor Bernd Stahl, one of the ORBIT Principal Investigators who is also coordinator of the SHERPA project. SHERPA participated in the Social Innovation Village along with other projects and initiatives all pushing the envelope for “more social good in technology and more technology in social good”. 

SHERPA and ORBIT share not only personnel, but also an interest in questions of ethical and social issues in smart information systems. ORBIT’s conference earlier this year that was dedicated to AI provided important input into the identification of case studies and scenarios for SHERPA. De Montfort University has a leading role in both projects, which is linked to its institutional strategy to promote the public good.

At the event we showcased the beginnings of SHERPA’s scenarios work that set the seeds for deepening the debate on the implications of AI in Policing, Warfare, Education, Health and Social care, and Transport. The project attracted the keen interest of representatives from more than 100 large and small organisations and networks in Europe and further afield, from Google to Amazon to the global start-up network of the Founders Institute and many more.

We look forward to working with them to deepen and widen the debate on AI ethics, with technologists, policy makers, start-ups, NGOs and the general public. As forerunner of the ethical debate on AI our responsibility is great, but so is our excitement.

Our concerted effort with the Social Good Accelerator, our spokesperson on stage for Doing IT with Purpose, led to public commitment by Commissioner Moedas towards the cause. We could not have hoped for more.  Listen to the highlights of the conversation here.

To get a preview of SHERPA’s scenario work and take part in the debate click here.

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