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AI, society, and social good

20 December 2018

AI and society

The Royal Society’s fundamental purpose, reflected in its founding Charters of the 1660s, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.

In April 2017, the Society published the results of a major policy study on machine learning. This report considered the potential of machine learning in the next 5-10 years, and the actions required to build an environment of careful stewardship that can help realise its potential. Since publication, both science and policy have developed at pace. The Society continues to work towards an environment of careful stewardship of AI, where the benefits of these technologies are shared across society.

AI and social good: NIPS 2017

In December 2017, the Royal Society and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Science and Innovation Network convened a discussion on the margins of the Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) conference (PDF) to explore current developments in machine learning, emerging applications, and how machine learning and AI can be developed in ways that support broad societal benefits.

AI and society: a joint event with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

In November 2018, the Royal Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences convened a workshop exploring key research questions about the impact of AI on fairness and equality, transparency, and democracy (PDF).

AI in health and care

In 2019, the Royal Society and the Academy of Medical Sciences convened a workshop exploring the application of AI to health and care challenges (PDF).

The AI revolution in scientific research

A discussion paper (PDF) by the Royal Society and the Alan Turing Institute explores how AI can support scientific discovery, and the questions this raises about the conduct of science and research in future. 

Public dialogue and policymaking for data and AI

A joint workshop with the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation in 2019 considered the role that public dialogue should play in policymaking for AI (PDF), exploring the infrastructure that could support sustained engagement between researchers, policymakers and publics.

Building on these discussions, a workshop at NeurIPS 2019 (PDF) explored the role researchers can play in supporting a well-founded public dialogue about AI.

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