The Anthropology + Technology Conference returns on Friday 9 and Monday 12 October for a second year, this time online, with the opportunity to connect speakers and delegates from across the globe, and two major sponsors, Microsoft UK and Spotify.

It brings together innovative thinkers across fintech, health tech and smart cities in technology, business, the social sciences, and the public sector to exchange ideas, create networks, and examine together how AI can be built, designed, and deployed responsibly without putting a brake on innovation. Bristol is a brilliant home for the conference as it is full of tech innovation and people looking to innovate in a way which produces positive long-term results.

As Richard Potter, CTO, Microsoft Consulting Services UK, explains: “We’re delighted to be a Gold Partner of Anthropology + Technology 2020. Artificial intelligence holds tremendous potential for all businesses. However, we have ethical and social responsibilities. By deploying AI responsibly, businesses can be more confident about using AI to deliver value whilst having a positive impact on society”.

Speakers from business, academia and the public sector will address topics such as AI in financial services, deep learning in disease detection, data privacy and cybersecurity, human-centred design in smart cities, ethical best practice in tech, humanising data and AI and much more.

With over 23 expert speakers across three streams to choose from, here are our top 5 picks:

Smart Cities Track:

#1: Phil Harvey, Senior Cloud Solution Architect for Data & AI in One Commercial Partner, Microsoft UK

In his role at Microsoft, Phil works with companies who are using Microsoft’s Cloud data and artificial intelligence technologies. He’ll be talking about data and that it’s important because it gives us new things to know and new ways of knowing. Data also makes software smarter through AI. Microsoft’s goal is to democratise AI to empower every person and every organisation to achieve more. Phil’s talk will explain how Microsoft takes a ‘principled consideration’ approach to AI ethics backed up by tools and skills to be applied in real-world scenarios.

Fintech Track:

#2: Ben Breen, Co-Founder, Nestegg

Ben Breen has been delivering business-transformational technology solutions at companies from start-ups to Fortune 100’s since 1985, including at JP Morgan, Barclays, Bank of America, Xerox, Nortel, Reuters, UBS and many others. Drawing on lessons learned from four decades of applying technology to real-world problems, Ben will offer his perspectives on the opportunities and challenges of using technology to help solve the problems around financial well-being in a responsible and effective way.

Health Tech Track:

#3: Dr Pearse Keane, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Associate Professor, Institute of Ophthalmology, UCL

Enterprising clinician and retinal specialist, Pearse Keane, is collaborating with Google DeepMind to use deep learning to identify age-related macular degeneration (AMD). He will talk about the processes required to establish a research collaboration between the NHS and a company like DeepMind and the initial results of their research. Be inspired by his vision of fundamentally reinventing ophthalmology, and medicine more broadly, through the application of artificial intelligence.


#4: Nani Jansen Reventlow, Human rights lawyer and Director of the Digital Freedom Fund

We’d be remiss not to include human rights lawyer, Nani Jansen Reventlow, as a not-to-be-missed talk. Alongside Phil Harvey’s quest to ensure businesses don’t put themselves at risk by not implementing AI responsibly, Nani will speak to the beating heart of the conference, which is that algorithmic decision-making is having real and serious consequences for people’s human rights. Addressing algorithmic bias, which reflects and amplifies existing social inequalities, is critical (the A-level exam fiasco is a key example). Because this also means dismantling the systems of racism and colonisation embedded in every aspect of our society, Nani’s keynote will address decolonising digital rights.


#5: Ivana Bartoletti, Technical Director, Privacy, Deloitte

Ivana is a privacy expert and speaks regularly at high-profile AI-related events. She works across all sectors, and is passionate about privacy and ethics by design in AI, the IoT and blockchain technology. Ivana was awarded ‘Woman of the Year’ (2019) in the CyberSecurity Awards. She’s on the panel in the afternoon alongside Professor Susan Halford, Co-Director of the Digital Futures Institute at Bristol University, and Dr Sam Shah, ex-Director of Digital Development for NHSX. The Panel Chair is Ada Lovelace Institute’s Reema Patel.


Ticket prices range from £20 for students to £95 for corporate delegates and can be purchased from

Geraint Evans