Ethics, Design and AI

No Harm Done?

A groundbreaking series of events on ethics, design and AI.
Curated in partnership between Edinburgh Futures Institute and Nile.

A groundbreaking series of events on ethics, design and AI.

Over 2023/4, we’re running a series of events that brings together perspectives from across sectors to drive the critical discourse on ethics in AI.

Businesses and academics are interacting with — or even building — AI tools, but lack the space to reflect on the ethical implications of those systems.

These events seek to fill the gap, bringing together perspectives from academia, design, business and law to think holistically about how we design new ethical pathways for AI.

We’ll look beyond the code, to the fundamental design challenges involved in creating a positive, equitable future with ethical artificial intelligence.

A modern building with big glass panes

No Harm Done? is a collaboration between Edinburgh Futures Institute, the Institute for Design Informatics and Nile.

Edinburgh Futures Institute
Design Informatics

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No Harm Done? is a series of events on Ethics, Design and AI.

To hear from us about upcoming events in the series, complete the form below.

No Harm Done? Ethics, Design and AI

Creative Business with AI
Wed 24 April 2024, 4pm-6pm
Nile, Circus Lane, Edinburgh

At this event, speakers shared creative applications of AI they were working on and the challenges they’ve encountered along the way.

  • Ana Betancourt, co-founder of AI audio design startup Black Goblin, shared valuable lessons from building an AI platform designed for a specific professional market.
  • Javier Tejera, learning technologist at the University of Edinburgh, showcased creative uses of custom AI tools that are empowering educators with new ways of teaching and learning.
  • Adam Turner, Head of External Funding Services at The Data Lab, spoke about a gamechanging AI-powered medical device being built together with European partners.
  • Lloyd Vaughan, COO at strategic design consultancy Nile, showed how he’s using AI to automate business processes and simplify day-to-day tasks, as well as AI’s impact on policy and consulting.

Responsible Play
Learning by Doing with Generative AI

Wed 29 November 2023, 4pm-6pm
Inspace, Edinburgh

This session sought to disrupt conventional thinking and pave the way for an AI-powered future. Speakers from academia, business and design practice, together with a packed room, explored how we ensure the machines we build today become instruments for unbiased progress tomorrow.

Speakers included:

  • Bronwyn Jones, Researcher and Journalist, University of Edinburgh / BBC
  • Sam Healy, Creative Coder, Ray Interactive
  • Tiernan Haugh, Senior UX Designer, Nile

Unmasking the Algorithm
Transparency and accountability in AI decision-making
Wed 4 October 2023, 4pm-6pm
Inspace, Edinburgh

In a world where algorithms increasingly shape our decisions, how can we apply ideas from the humanities to avoid these systems becoming decision-making ‘black boxes’ – and ensure people are held to account when things go wrong? 

At our first event, three experts from the worlds of academia, design and business gave lightning talks that looked beyond the code and examined the ethical and design underpinnings of AI, followed by an open discussion.

Speakers included:

  • Dr Lachlan Urquhart, Senior Lecturer in Technology Law and Human-Computer Interaction at the University of Edinburgh
  • Catriona Melton, Senior Associate – Intellectual Property & Technology, DLA Piper
  • Neil Collman, Design Director, Nile
A woman speaking in front of an audience about a poster created during a workshop.

What to expect

At each event, three experts — selected from sectors such as business, academia, design and law — will deliver lightning talks designed to provoke an open and constructive dialogue around ethics and AI. 

Attendees will then be invited to discuss the topics raised in a thought-provoking group setting, before a summary of the overall themes is provided at the end.

We’re creating an open and safe environment in which you can challenge assumptions, learn what’s happening right now and discuss what might be next.

This is an opportunity to hear from those involved in real-world applications of AI, and get involved in shaping its future.

Why we’re doing it

Making Edinburgh a hub for ethical AI

Inspired by Scotland’s AI Strategy, we want to establish Edinburgh as the hub for ethical AI innovation, and help position Scotland as a global leader in human-centred AI.

We believe it’s imperative to create a space in which the business, design and academic communities can share knowledge, gain insight and explore the potential impacts of AI now, in order to create a positive future with AI, and mitigate potential harms.

It’s hard to predict what path AI might take us down. The technology promises huge benefits, but also potentially serious risks if ethical considerations and human values aren’t taken into account. Together, we will drive the discourse, exploring the steps we can take now to ensure the algorithms we design have ethics baked-in and help us build a fairer future.