Building in the Good

Creating positive ICT futures


As the Prime Minister, Theresa May, commented at the Davos World Economic Forum in January 2018, “Harnessing the power of technology is not just in all our interests – but fundamental to the advance of humanity.” However, she added “Technological progress raises new and profound challenges which we need to address. For example, many fear that because of technology they and their children will lose out on the jobs of the future.

The increasingly pervasive nature of information and communications technologies (ICT) in all aspects of our lives raises many exciting possibilities and numerous concerns. Responsible Research and Innovation aims to maximise the benefits of technology whilst minimising the risks.

The ORBIT team is partnering with Microsoft Research to organize a conference to promote Responsible Research and Innovation principles that aim to create a positive ethical  and socially desirable future in ICT. The conference will bring together stakeholders involved in ICT research and innovation to explore how the advantages of ICT can be harnessed, while disadvantages can be identified and addressed. The conference will discuss how ICT may be used to create positive futures and promote the public good. Through this conference, ORBIT is hoping to stimulate dialogue and exchange of ideas among prominent scientists, researchers and practitioners.

The conference will host talks by key speakers from both the academy and industry followed by a panel and a poster presentation. Confirmed agreed speakers include Lord Clement-Jones, member of the House of Lords and chair of the Artificial Intelligence Select Committee. ORBIT is now inviting contributions on topics including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Desirable futures and the role of ICT
  • Embedding RRI in computer science education
  • Theory, practice and implementation of RRI in ICT development
  • RRI and industry
  • Reflecting on outcomes of research
  • Public engagement in ICT

The conference is co-organised by ORBIT and Microsoft Research in Cambridge.

ORBIT is the Observatory for Responsible Research and Innovation in ICT. It promotes acceptable and socially desirable research in ICT.

The ORBIT project has been tasked by the EPSRC to embed RRI in the UK. With this in mind, ORBIT offers a range of services aimed at helping researchers to harness their creativity and create outcomes that are aligned with the interests of society.

Note: a limited number of bursaries are available. Please email Margherita at [email protected] for more details.

Reserve Your Place

Registration has now closed.

Submit an Abstract

ORBIT is now inviting contributions on topics including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Desirable futures and the role of ICT
  • Embedding RRI in computer science education
  • Theory, practice and implementation of RRI in ICT development
  • RRI and industry
  • Reflecting on outcomes of research
  • Public engagement in ICT

The submission deadline is July, 31st, 2018.

Abstracts will be peer reviewed and acceptance will be based on content and topic. The review panel will be led by Professors Bernd Stahl and Marina Jirotka. The submissions might represent original empirical research, theoretical development or reviews. Authors whose abstract is accepted are expected to present a poster of their research. Posters should be large enough to be read from a comfortable distance. The recommended size for the poster is A0 or A1 and the text size should be at least 18-24 point in order to be readable from 1.5 to 2 meters away. The posters should provide clear information on the research being carried and where possible use pictures, tables and graphs rather than text.

To submit an abstract, please fill the fields below in this page. After submitting, authors will receive an email confirming the receipt of their submission with details on when to expect a notification regarding acceptance. If you have trouble submitting the abstract or have any questions about the submission process please contact [email protected]

Authors of accepted abstracts are also invited to publish a full paper of their research in the ORBIT journal. The deadline for this submission is September, 30 2018. For details on how to submit a full paper to the ORBIT journal, please refer to the guidelines on the journal’s webpage.

Note: presenting authors will have their registration fees waived but will be responsible for their own travel costs. A limited number of bursaries are available. Please email Margherita at [email protected] for more details


09:00 – 09:30 Registration

09:30 – 09:50 Welcome to the conference, outline of the day: Dr. Abigail Sellen

09:50 – 10:30 Lord Tim Clement Jones, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on AI and also of the House of Lords Select Committee on AI. Talk title: “House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence Report and the Government’s Response in Context”.

10:30 – 10:50 Break

10:50 – 11:30 Dr. Virginia Dignum, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management at Delft University of Technology. Talk title: “Responsible Artificial Intelligence”.

11:30 – 12:10 Dr. Lesley Thompson, Vice-President of Academic Relations at Elsevier and formerly Programme Director at EPSRC. Talk title: “Global Trends; AI and Ethics- can society and the research mutually benefit from engagement?”.

12:10 – 13:40 Lunch break/Poster session

13:40 – 14:20 Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham and author of “The Fourth Education Revolution: Will Artificial Intelligence liberate or infantilise humanity?”. Speaking on how AI could positively impact the availability of high quality teaching to so many more students and how delivery of education may be changed by this and the impact on our divided society.

14:20 – 15:00 Dr. Neil Viner, Director of programme delivery at EPSRC. Talking about Responsible Research and Innovation and how it can help to positively shape the future of ICT and AI, with a focus on how EPSRC has embraced and proposes to drive home the principles of RRI across its research portfolio.

15:00 – 15:20 Break

15:20 – 16:15 Panel discussion, Q&A

16:15 – 16:30 Summary of the day, link to ORBIT

16.30 Conference closes

Speaker Biographies

Lord Tim Clement Jones

Lord Clement-Jones is a Consultant of the global law firm DLA Piper.  Former positions within DLA include London Managing Partner (2011-16), Head of UK Government Affairs, Chairman of its China and Middle East Desks, International Business Relations Partner and Co-Chairman of Global Government Relations.  He is Chair of Ombudsman Services Limited, the not for profit, independent ombudsman service that provides dispute resolution for the communications, energy, property and copyright licensing industries. He is a member of the Advisory Board of Airmic (the Association of Insurance and Risk Managers in Industry and Commerce) and Board Member of the Corporate Finance Faculty of the ICAEW.  Tim was made CBE for political services in 1988 and a life peer in 1998.  Until July 2004 was the Liberal Democrat Health Spokesman and thereafter until 2010 Liberal Democrat Spokesman on Culture, Media and Sport, in the House of Lords. He is the Liberal Democrat spokesman for the Digital Economy and a former spokesman on the Creative Industries (2015-17). He is the former Chair of the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence (2017-18) and Co-Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence.  He is Deputy Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on China.  Tim was an external member of the Council of University College London and Chair of its Audit Committee (2012-17).  He is Chairman of the Council of Queen Mary University London.  Tim is President of Ambitious About Autism (formerly Treehouse) an autism education charity and school for children with autism and other communication disorders and its former Chairman (2001-08).

Dr Virginia Dignum

Virginia Dignum is Associate Professor on Social Artificial Intelligence at the Faculty of Technology Policy and Management at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. From October 2018, she will be Professor of AI and Society at University of Umeå in Sweden. Her research focuses on value-sensitive design of intelligent systems and multi-agent organisations, in particular on the ethical and societal impact of AI. She is a Fellow of the European Artificial Intelligence Association (EURAI) and has been vice president of the BNVKI (Benelux AI Association). In 2006, she was awarded the prestigious Veni grant from NWO (Dutch Organization for Scientific Research) for her work on agent-based organizational frameworks. She a well-known speaker on the social and ethical impacts of Artificial Intelligence, and is member of the reviewing boards for all major journals and conferences in AI. She has also chaired many international conferences and workshops, including ECAI2016, the European Conference on AI. She has published more than 180 peer-reviewed papers and edited several books. From 2011 to 2017, she was vice-president of the Benelux AI Association (BNVKI).

Currently, she is member of the High Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence from the European Commission, is member of the Executive Committee of the IEEE Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous Systems, and sits in the scientific boards of the Delft Design for Values Institute, the AI4People – European Global Forum on AI, and the Responsible Robotics Foundation.

Dr Maria de Kleijn-Lloyd

Maria de Kleijn-Lloyd MBA is Senior Vice President Analytical Services for Elsevier. She is responsible for bespoke analytical services to universities, funding bodies and governments worldwide, advising them on research performance, international collaboration and research impact. In this role she is also responsible for the company’s pro bono reports like last year’s report on gender in research, and the upcoming report on Artificial Intelligence. Prior to joining Elsevier, Maria has worked for McKinsey and Company, for the Dutch government, and in the power and gas sector, in various analytical roles combining big data to inform decisions. Maria holds a master’s degree with distinction in Applied Physics from Delft University of Technology, and an MBA with distinction from Oxford University.

Sir Anthony Seldon

Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Buckingham since 2015, is one of Britain’s leading contemporary historians, educationalists, commentators and political authors.

He was a transformative head for 20 years, first of Brighton College and then Wellington College. He is author or editor of over 35 books on contemporary history, including the inside books on the last four Prime Ministers, was the co-founder and first director of the Institute for Contemporary British History, is co-founder of Action for Happiness, honorary historical adviser to 10 Downing Street, UK Special Representative for Saudi Education, a member of the Government’s First World War Culture Committee, was chair of the Comment Awards, is a director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the President of IPEN, (International Positive Education Network), is patron or on the board of several charities, founder of the Via Sacra Western Front Walk, and was executive producer of the film Journey’s End.

Dr Neil Viner

Neil is EPSRC Director Programme Delivery responsible for the development of strategy, delivery of the EPSRC programme, the day-to-day operation of EPSRC and for EPSRC’s Business Critical Projects Portfolio. He is SRO for The Alan Turing Institute, Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials, UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure and Cities, Rosalind Franklin Institute and The New Cavendish Laboratory. He is a member of the Alan Turing Institute Board of Trustees and Audit Committee Chairman.

Prior to this Neil spent 7 years as an Associate Director in EPSRC with responsibilities covering talent and skills strategy and priority setting. During this time he oversaw the expansion of the Centres for Doctoral Training trebling their number and securing matched funding from Government, Business and Universities to secure a £1B portfolio, and the establishment of the National Graphene Institute. He led the executive leadership team though a project to simplify business processes and reduce OpEx that halved the number of schemes and delivered 25% savings whilst improving performance, and was the EPSRC member on the project board that oversaw the establishment of the PSU between AHRC, EPSRC, and ESRC. As Project Director he led the creation of the Joint Venture that established the Alan Turing Institute at the British Library.

From 2005 to 2008 he was in the Office of Science and Innovation, part of the DTI, first as a special advisor and then Head of Policy and Analysis. He led the Financial Sustainability of Research workstream in the 2007 CSR securing £800M for university capital investment and to fund full economic costing on Grants. He was also responsible for monitoring the Government’s Science and Innovation Investment Framework and the Science and Engineering Base Coordinating Committee.

Neil has a PhD in Plant Physiology from the University of Leicester, an MBA (with Distinction) from the University of Bath and was one of the first graduates of the Cabinet Office Project Leadership Programme in 2016.

4th of September 2018.

Microsoft Research, Cambridge, UK.

ORBIT (Observatory for Responsible Research and Innovation) invites researchers from around the world to submit abstracts for presentation at its conference in September 2018 co-organized with Microsoft Research. The theme will be ‘Building in the Good – Creating positive ICT futures’. This is an opportunity to promote Responsible Research and Innovation principles and to create a positive, ethical and socially desirable future in ICT.

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