CogX Festival 2021 – Our thoughts so far

Empty conference room

“How do we get the next 10 years right?”

This question, posed as the theme of CogX 2021’s hybrid festival, is certainly an intriguing one. Ten  years in tech is a long time, especially when we consider the speed of innovation during the pandemic.  We’ve written up our thoughts on Day 1 in case you are just as curious to hear more as we were!

About CogX

CogX is a Global Leadership Summit and Festival of AI Transformational Technology which brings together professionals from spheres such as business, technology and government.  There are still 2 days left of the festival which finished on Wednesday 16th June, and so far it hasn’t disappointed.

We joined what was billed to be more than 1,000 speakers and 100,000 visitors. They included leading entrepreneurs, artists, activists, academics, technologists, policy makers and CEOs, joining to “celebrate innovation, discuss global topics, and share the latest trends shaping our future”. The festival is an interesting “hybrid” event combining what you’d expect from a virtual platform with in person sessions in Kings Cross. It made for some interesting challenges for the sound mixers who were trying to balance for both audiences!

Day 1 round-up

The first day of insightful conversations on the main Global Leadership stage, ranged from the founders of some of the fastest growing UK startups such as Bulb and OLIO, who were speaking about the Tech Zero Taskforce’s aim to get 1000 companies signed up to Net Zero, to the dazzling TV presenter June Sarpong OBE on allyship. It really set the scene for some great conversation and ideas-sharing. 

We heard from Matthew Ryder QC, Julie Dawson of Yoti and Aidan Peppin of Ada Lovelace Institute on how to get biometric-based technologies right in the future. There was much discussion about working more closely with tech companies but also using regulation to provide clear lines and rules which tech companies must not cross, from the outset. And we’ve also heard from Sarah Dillon, Richard Staley and Jonnie Penn about how we can use the histories of AI to help chart a path to the future use of AI, avoiding past pitfalls and exploitation. 

Other highlights were a session on surveillance in the workplace with Andrew Pakes of Prospect Union and Ivana Bartoletti among others, and ‘Queer-tech: designing for diversity’ including Shakir Mohamed from Deepmind and moderated by Max Beverton-Palmer of Tony Blair Institute. Then an impressively insightful presentation breaking down bias in AI and how corporates could be doing ethical research from Margaret Mitchell, who founded and co-lead Google’s Ethical AI Group before controversy earlier in the year.

It was often really challenging to choose a stage due to the wealth of sessions, but the good news is that live Youtube streaming made it easy to pause and catch up, and save for later viewing.

What we’re watching on days 2 and 3

There is more to come! There are 18 stages to choose from with topics ranging from the Future of Work and HR, the Planet and Smart Cities to Gen Z and FinTech and Future Financial Services. For those interested in AI and ethics, there is a dedicated Ethics and Society Stage moderated by Ada Lovelace Institute and Hattusia. 

Some of these talks to watch out for, which cover important topics for We and AI are: 

Power, politics, and the planetary costs of artificial intelligence

Youth To The Front: Taking systemic racism, inequality and injustice head on

Ethics and Bias in AI

What the UK needs from a National AI Strategy

What does it take to be a responsible leader of AI?

Antiracism within AI research 

Or check out the agenda and see what catches your fancy!

Meet us there!

If you are also looking forward to these sessions, you can still get a free Standard Virtual Pass, so you can have the opportunity to meet with us there and have a friendly chat. Please follow this link to get yours now, then come and drop by our Virtual Booth! 

You can search We and AI from the Expo Booths, or come straight to us once you are in the platform https://app.cogxfestival.live/events/cogx-festival-2021/expo/514951

We are sharing information about our projects and collaborations, so find out about or catch up with our projects. We’d love your views on how we aim to increase AI literacy in the UK, in addition to increasing the diversity of people joining the AI workforce.

Interested to learn more? We will also be sharing details of our FREE Impact of AI virtual course which is designed to empower people from different disciplines with an initial understanding of how AI systems can impact their careers and lives. 

Join We and AI at the CogX Festival today and let’s get the next 10 years right together!

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