P L E N A R Y  T A L K S

Prof. John Macintyre

Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Sunderland, United Kingdom

Title: “Is “Big Tech” Becoming the “Big Tobacco” of Artificial Intelligence?”

Recent developments in research, development, implementation and use of AI include worrying trends which ask big questions about the future direction of the whole field. As part of this, the role of “Big Tech” – the huge corporate entities who now dominate the development of AI technologies and products – is crucial, both in terms of the technology they develop, and the researchers they employ. Their dominance places them at the apex of the R&D and product development activity in AI, which in turn means they have a great responsibility to ensure that this activity leads to fair, transparent, accountable, and ethical AI systems and products. They also have a great responsibility to support and nurture their staff. This talk will examine recent developments in AI and the role of Big Tech, and ask whether they are stepping up to these responsibilities.

Professor John MacIntyre is Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Sunderland. He did his doctorate in Applied Artificial Intelligence in the early 1990s, and went on to establish the Centre for Adaptive Systems which became recognised by the UK Government as a Centre of Excellence in Applied AI. He has published more than 170 papers and given numerous keynote presentations at events around the world. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Neural Computing & Applications, a role he has held since 1996. NC&A publishes peer-reviewed original research on applied AI, receiving over 4,000 submissions in 2020. John is also Co Editor-in-Chief of a new journal, AI and Ethics, which he established with Professor Larry Medsker of George Washington University this year. The first original research and thought leadership pieces were published online in AI and Ethics in October 2020, and the journal is now making a significant contribution to the public debate on the future direction of AI.