A Better Tech Future Summit

17th April, 2023, by Ismael Kherroubi Garcia

Image by Alan Warburton / © BBC / Better Images of AI / Virtual Human / CC-BY 4.0

On 18th April, we will be joining Tech & Democracy: A Better Tech Future Summit. The event, organised by All Tech Is Human (ATIH) at the Shard, will bring together 250 people from across industry and civil society (including our colleagues at We and AI, and the Ada Lovelace Institute).

ATIH is a non-profit committed to strengthening the responsible tech ecosystem to tackle wicked tech and society issues, and co-create a tech future aligned with the public interest. ATIH has three areas of focus:

  • Multistakeholder convening (like the Summit)
  • Multidisciplinary education
  • Diversity in the tech skills pipeline¹

Three Areas of Focus

These are all foundational aspects to our thinking at Kairoi, where we advocate for viewing the responsible AI movement as a revolution, where we are unafraid to challenge assumptions, encourage reflection, and fundamentally improve practices. Such work must be done with the involvement of diverse stakeholders. Consider our report Looking Before We Leap, where we partnered with colleagues at the Ada Lovelace Institute to gather insights from across industry and academia on research ethics committees for artificial intelligence (AI) research.² Even for the launch event, we were accompanied on the panel by colleagues from Stanford University, DeepMind and Partnership on AI. It is crucial that, when pushing for the responsible AI revolution, we engage with parties whose different practices can cohesively drive systemic change.

Multidisciplinarity, in turn, is key to ensure that reflexivity and awareness about societal issues are embedded across fields of knowledge. Whether in nuclear physics, electrical engineering, anthropology or statistics, we are part of the same globalised social world. Our actions are consequential to our social surroundings, regardless of our field of expertise. What’s more, we often work across disciplines; particularly in tech, where teams with diverse expertise are brought together to tackle complex issues. To this effect, becoming accustomed to working with people from different domains is critical to fostering a responsible tech ecosystem.

Finally, and in light of our awareness of social realities and injustice, it is paramount that we empower those who are traditionally marginalised from the sphere of technology, and to encourage those in positions of power to amplify the voices that usually don’t get a say. Through Kairoi’s work with We and AI, we have developed an online course to ensure the broader public has a greater understanding of how AI systems play a part in their day-to-day lives. The course is not yet published but we aim for it to play a part in making discussions about AI research and technologies more accessible.

Towards a Responsible AI Revolution

At the heart of ATIH’s interconnected areas of focus is a desire for a society that builds technology for the better. At Kairoi, we take that to require systemic change. Indeed, neither of the three areas is straightforwardly tenable, but can straightforwardly be shown to go against the status quo, whereby stakeholders work in silos, education is fundamentally different according to discipline, and the tech skills pipeline is reserved for the usual suspects (notably, the white, “able-bodied”, cisgender male).

The shift towards a better tech future will be slow because of the powers that be, but practices in AI have been changing relatively rapidly, albeit also confusingly. The establishment of principles for AI by the likes of the OECD³ and the UN,⁴ the endless “AI ethics frameworks” from industry,⁵ the development of national and international regulations,⁶ the creation of AI ethics advocacy groups (such as the AJL⁷ and DAIR⁸), the recent proliferation of publicly accessible “generative AI” tools… These have all raised awareness and informed initiatives for the betterment of AI research and development. “Responsible AI” is no longer a movement but a revolution.


¹ ATIH (2022) All Tech Is Human’s Theory of Change

² Kherroubi Garcia, I. (2023) Report: Looking Before We Leap, Kairoi

³ OECD (2019) Recommendation of the Council on Artificial Intelligence, OECD/LEGAL/0449

⁴ UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (2022) Principles for the Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence in the United Nations System

⁵ Dotan, R. (2021) The Proliferation of AI Ethics Principles: What’s Next?, Montréal AI Ethics Institute

⁶ Haddad, M. (2023) The Race for AI Governance: Navigating the International Regulatory Landscape of Artificial Intelligence, Jurist

⁷ Algorithmic Justice League, https://www.ajl.org/

⁸ Distributed AI Research Institute, https://www.dair-institute.org/


Portrait of Ismael in an aubergine blazer, black t-shirt and black glasses

Ismael Kherroubi Garcia, FRSA

Ismael is the founder and CEO of Kairoi.

You can find him on LinkedIn, Mastodon and Twitter.

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