The Response-ability Summit (formerly the Anthropology + Technology Conference) returns on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 May for a third year, again online, with the opportunity to learn from and connect with a “terrific selection of speakers” and delegates from across the globe who are committed to designing and building digital solutions responsibly.

Richard Godfrey, CEO and co-Founder, Rocketmakers, sums up the appeal of the summit to tech companies like his:

“At Rocketmakers we are committed to building socially-responsible technology, whether we are creating social and environmental impact focused projects for our clients, or we are exploring software solutions with a minimal impact on the planet. We are very pleased to be a Bronze Sponsor for the second year running.”

Response-ability Summit Founder, anthropologist Dawn Walter explains the new name: “The Response-ability Summit was rebranded to reflect a focus on action. Now is the time for technology designers and social scientists to come together, to create planet-focused digital solutions that work demonstrably and measurably and do not exacerbate or reinforce existing social and economic inequalities.”

This year’s event brings together scientists and business leaders in academia, business 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 summit as it is bursting with tech innovation and people looking to innovate in a way which produces positive long-term results.

With over 60 speakers speaking in 25 sessions over two days, here are our top 5 picks for the first day, Thursday 20 May.

Susan-Halford at response-ability#1: Academic keynote: How can we be response-able for this world in the making?

Professor Susan Halford, Co-Director, Bristol Digital Futures Institute, will deliver the academic keynote on the first day: “The digital and the social are now co-evolving with emergent consequences that raise profound challenges for equality, social cohesion and sustainability. The big question is: how can we be response-able for this world in the making?”

Day1-Pick2-Lorenn-Ruster-response-ability#2: Humanising Technology

Lorenn Ruster and Thea Snow (Australia) share findings from a project on how to reimagine the role and responsibility of governments to proactively enable and support people to live their best lives using technology; Dr Jennifer Cearns (UK) explores how we might design empathy into digital mental healthcare; and Dr Emily Corrigan-Kavanagh (UK) shares a participatory approach to designing sound sensing technology to improve people’s urban lives.

Min'enhle_Ncube-response-ability#3: AI and the Ethical Quandaries of Care Infrastructures in Africa

Dr Azza Ahmed, Amina Soulimani, and Min’enhle Ncube, HUMA – Institute for Humanities in Africa, University of Cape Town, will draw on perspectives from Rwanda, Morocco and Zambia to discuss digitised healthcare and the ethical quandaries of digital life, being and institutionalised care, as the continent understandably rushes to embrace new technologies in its project to decolonise progress and suffering.

Gemma-Galdon-response-ability#4: Trusting, Auditing, and Explaining Algorithms

Dr Gemma Galdon and Emma Lopez (Spain) share their experience gained from a bottom-up approach to algorithmic auditing, combining both social science and computer science; Agnethe Grøn (Denmark) explains how a Service Design approach helped a team develop the explanations that different stakeholders need to trust an AI screening tool; and Lara Macdonald shares the UK’s Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) findings on addressing bias and discrimination in an algorithmic age.

Eriol-Fox-response-ability#5: Designing for Marginalised and Forgotten Communities

Eriol Fox (UK) asks us to think about how we explicitly include places and communities still ‘coming online’; Mariliis Öeren (UK) explores the challenges involved in designing digital solutions to improve mental health for people from lower socio-economic groups; and Anna Leggett (UK) shares a research project that explored opportunities to connect with marginalised communities during the pandemic.

More information about the full programme can be found here.

Ticket prices are £95 (Standard), £50 (Third sector), and £30 (Students). Tickets include access to all the talks, unconference sessions on day 2, lunchtime yoga classes, and workshops. Day Passes are also available: Standard £66.50, Third Sector £30, and Students £21. Tickets can be purchased here.

Shona Wright

Shona covers all things editorial at TechSPARK. She publishes news articles, interviews and features about our fantastic tech and digital ecosystem, working with startups and scaleups to spread the word about the cool things they're up to. She also oversees TechSPARK's social media, sharing the latest updates on everything from investment news to green tech meetups and inspirational stories.