Computer Science News
UCL eResearch Domain holds its Artificial Intelligence Conference
On Monday 11 June, UCL eResearch Domain held its annual Conference, to discuss the development and application of Artificial Intelligence in research across a plethora of disciplines. It brought together researchers from across UCL’s faculties, with expertise ranging from Computer Science to Conservation, to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration. The event built on the recent town hall meeting for the UCL Grand Challenge of Transformative Technology, which Social Issues Around Artificial Intelligence.
eResearch is one of UCL’s eight Domains. Launched in 2016, this Domain supports UCL’s cross-faculty community who perform theoretical and applied research using computational and data sciences or digital technologies. More recently, Artificial intelligence and the data-driven economy were identified in the Government’s Industrial Strategy white paper, and major private and public sector investment decisions are expected in this area.
In his welcome address, Professor Philip Luthert, from the Institute of Ophthalmology and co-chair of the UCL eResearch Domain, stressed the importance of research integration, collaboration and the development of new knowledge and expertise on this theme. “UCL eResearch Domain has the ambition to bring people together to bring topics of interest to cultivate knowledge exchange and share problem solving. It has become clear that AI is a fast-moving area, rich with challenging opportunities.”
“A new democratisation of access to Artificial Systems has opened the doors to questions in a number of areas that were not historically connected to AI. So - what if we stop thinking about the application of AI as a series of technical changes, but as a network of structural, political and societal changes? UCL has world-class expertise in all of these areas, which makes it a prime catalyst for AI innovation.”
The conference proceedings went on to draw from as many related topics and interests as possible, with quickfire presentations on the development of new AI concepts and tools in neuroscience, network analytics and statistics. Professor John Shawe-Taylor, Head of Department for UCL Computer Science, also presented on the historical developments of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, drawing distinct differences between the two disciplines. “I would not group Machine Learning with Artificial Intelligence, but I certainly think ML has been good for AI. Machine learning can harvest patterns in data to create effective performance, and this could be integrated to fine-tune logical decision-making in Artificial Intelligence. The afternoon’s parallel sessions featured debate and discussion on AI used to address challenges facing Health and Wellbeing, Our World and Universe, Society and Culture, and culminated in a presentation by pioneering AI specialists at DeepMind.
The conference demonstrated the potential that AI has to change our lives in many ways. The discussions highlighted the importance of intertwining the ability to develop new AI and machine learning approaches, with discipline-specific expertise, while addressing the social and ethical implications of creating new technologies. By working together, we will transform our future for the better.