Are you worried about how fast tech is progressing, particularly within the spheres of robotics and artificial intelligence? Well the Bristol Branch of the BCS, the chartered institute for IT, is presenting a tech talk about AI and robot ethics at Bristol’s Engine Shed next week where experts will discuss the need to balance freedom and progress in technology and innovation.

With talks from Alan Winfield, Professor of Robotic Ethics (pictured right) at UWE Bristol, and Chris Holder, Partner at London law firm Bristows where he leads the Robotics & AI division, they will examine how intelligent robotics has the potential for huge benefit, but is not without ethical or societal risk.

They will also be looking at where we stand legally on such matters and what this could mean for potential applications and the impact on people.

Machine Learning and AI

TechSPARK was in attendance at the first talk in the series on Machine Learning & AI, and we thoroughly enjoyed hearing the experts bringing us up to date with the new directions AI and its associated tech is going.

There were some surprising facts from Professor Jim Smith from UWE Bristol (pictured left) about how AI is slowly making its ways into our lives – including on to the mobile phones we carry around with us every day – and that patents have already been awarded for “evolved designs”, where an algorithm, not a person, has created the AI tech being patented.

We also heard from Graphcore’s Nigel Toon (pictured in main picture above) on how the company is developing the biggest chip ever created to help deal with the computing demands of AI and machine learning. In fact, they are not developing a new CPU, but creating an accelerator for it. They plan to “Recreate in silicon what we do in the brain.” He also showed off some amazing graphs which allow Graphcore researchers to peer into the algorithms of current AIs to help streamline their processes.

You can see the whole event in the video below:


Lloyd Skinner (pictured left), the organiser of the Tech Talks, tells us, “I am extremely happy that given a rainy miserable night we had about 90 people attend the first of the 2017 series of Talks. Nigel from Graphcore and Professor Jim Smith provided fascinating insights into AI and machine learning to an audience almost evenly split between members and non-members, old and new and corporate through to SME.”

He adds” This talk has set us up nicely for future talks starting with the next talk on 3 May on Robotic Ethics and the June talks on FinTech and the Internet of Things.”

To register for the upcoming tech talks on the evening of Wednesday 3 May and at Bristol’s Engine Shed, click here: AI & Robotic Ethics BCS Tech Talk or here for the Fintech Tech Talk. You can also keep up to date with BCS events by following the hashtag #bcsevent or the @BCSBristol account on Twitter.

Jamie Middleton