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Digital Ethics Summit 2020

Day 1 – Wednesday 9 December 


Welcome and housekeeping

  • Sue Daley, Associate Director, Technology and Innovation, techUK


Opening Address

  • Antony Walker, Deputy CEO, techUK


Keynote Address

  • Rt Hon John Whittingdale OBE MP, Minister of State for Media and Data, Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport


Keynote Address

  • Elizabeth Denham, UK Information Commissioner, Information Commissioner's Office


Plenary session - Lessons to be learnt from 2020

Taking stock of where we are now, this session will reflect on the significant challenges we’ve faced this year and discuss the role and impact of the digital ethics debate. The opening panel will address the tough questions and issues raised in 2020 and ask what lessons we need to learn moving forward. By examining the technological and policy responses to the pandemic and other critical events seen this year, the panel will examine whether we have seen significant progress in the digital ethics discussion over the last twelve months and how we have moved forward. It will also consider whether we are doing enough to support the translation of ethical principles into policymaking and if not, what do we need to put in place? This session will also consider when it comes to the UK’s policy making process, do we have effective mechanisms in place to ensure a diverse range of viewpoints are being heard, and if not, what more needs to be done to ensure the views of the most vulnerable groups in our society are included.

  • Sue Daley, Associate Director, Technology and Innovation, techUK (Chair)
  • Maria Axente, Responsible AI and AI for Good Lead, PwC
  • Edwina Dunn, OBE, Board Member, Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI)
  • Stephen Metcalfe, MP and Co-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence (APPG AI)
  • Kay Firth-Butterfield, Head, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, World Economic Forum




Breakout sessions (delegates attend one)

Fairness and equality - Data and technology and the fight against systemic discrimination

As decision-making becomes increasingly data-driven it is fundamentally important that the right data is driving these decisions. This year we have seen heighted public awareness of the use of data and data driven technologies, such as algorithms in decision-making and the impact of algorithmic bias on the end user. In addition, the current global pandemic has exposed gaps in critical datasets and the impact missing data can have on people’s lives. During this session panellists will discuss the important and powerful role data can play in ensuring fairness across society and in the fight against systemic discrimination if we get this right. It will consider how we must learn from the mistakes made in the use of data and showcase some of the latest tools and techniques that can help to mitigate data and algorithmic bias in decision-making processes. Finally, the panel will discuss what can be done, and by whom, to prevent data gaps in critical datasets that may lead to wrong or inaccurate decisions for underrepresented individuals, particularly people without historic, or with negative, data footprints.

  • Ashleigh Ainsley, Co-founder, Colorintech
  • Brhmie Balaram, Head of AI Research & Ethics, NHSX AI Lab
  • Renée Cummings, Data Activist in Residence, The School of Data Science, University of Virginia & Community Scholar Columbia University
  • Dr Kanta Dihal, Senior Research Fellow & Principal Investigator, Global AI Narratives, Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, University of Cambridge
  • Jessica Lennard, Senior Director, Global Data and AI Initiatives, Visa (Chair) 
  • Allyn L. Shaw, President & CTO, Recycle Track Systems and Founding Partner, Deed.Partners 

Reflections on data privacy and governance in 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic data has been a vital tool in the race to predict, prevent and protect the public from the virus. This has meant that data protection compliance, privacy regulation and data governance practices have all been centre stage and under the spotlight this year like never before. As we come to the end of 2020 this panel will consider the impact of data privacy laws and regulation in the UK, particularly on protecting certain groups of society and discuss what has worked well and whether there are areas where new approaches may be needed to address issues arising from the use of innovative technologies. This session will highlight examples of international best practice seen this year and the recent work of the Global Partnership Initiative on AI (GPAI) on creating a global data governance framework. Finally, in this breakout we’ll explore whether we can identify what good data governance looks like from the events of this year and how companies can be best supported to benchmark their current procedures and do the right thing as we move into 2021.

Fireside chat (15 mins) 

  • Jen Rodvold, Head of Digital Ethics & Tech for Good, Sopra Steria
  • Ben Jones, Head of Digital, Harrow Council
  • Jonathan Milbourn, Director of Customer Services & Modernisation, Harrow Council

Panel (45 mins) 

  • Sue Daley, Associate Director, Technology and Innovation, techUK (Chair) 
  • Ellis Parry, Data Ethics Advisor, Technology and Innovation, Information Commissioner’s Office
  • Charles Radclyffe, Partner, EthicsGrade
  • Jen Rodvold, Head of Digital Ethics & Tech for Good, Sopra Steria
  • Chris Todd, Chief Superintendent, West Midlands Police & Board Member, Ada Lovelace Institute
  • Adrian Weller, Programme Director for AI, The Alan Turing Institute

Data sharing and data quality - Getting this right going forward

Since the beginning of the global health crisis, the case for increased access and availability to open data sets, and the drive for more responsible data sharing, has never been stronger. The UK Government’s National Data Strategy has positioned issues of data quality, availability and interoperability as key foundations that need to be in place if the full power and value of data and data driven technologies are to be realised. So how do we get this right going forward and what impact has the pandemic had on our propensity to share and use data particularly to drive decision making? This session will consider what we can take from the experience of this year and will ask whether we have the capability and capacity needed to get issues of data access, sharing and quality right? This panel will discuss issues such as how we can assess and determine what good data quality looks like in a world where data is being created exponentially. It will also explore where we have experienced significant progress in terms of open data initiatives this year, how this work can be scaled and the role the National Data Strategy can play as we look forward to 2021.

Fireside Chat (15 mins)

  • Simon Persoff, Partner, Clifford Chance
  • Chris James, Head of Digital Legal, UK and Europe, HSBC 

Panel (45 mins) 

  • Rachel Coldicutt, Director, Careful Industries
  • Stephen Docherty, Industry Executive, Health, Microsoft
  • Arnav Joshi, Senior Associate, Clifford Chance
  • Sam Roberts, Head of Open Data & Open Government, Cabinet Office
  • Jeni Tennison, Vice President and Chief Strategy Adviser, Open Data Institute (Chair)




Headline Sponsor Keynote

  • Natasha Crampton, Chief Responsible AI Officer, Microsoft




Plenary session - Democracy in the age of AI

The role, influence and impact of technology on our society, the political process and democracy is under the spotlight like never before. Challenging ethical questions are being asked about the use of AI in the spread of fake news, misinformation and media manipulation, as well as the power of data-enabled innovations such as bots, deepfakes and facial recognition in influencing people’s behaviour and decision making and to what extent this poses a threat to democracy. This session will tackle these questions head on and discuss the role and ethical responsibility of the tech sector to get this right. It will consider what lessons can be learnt from the political and societal events of 2020 and discuss whether industry is currently equipped to make the right ethical decisions on behalf of wider society. It will also look ahead to the next 5 years and ask whether we are able now to identify the biggest threats to democracy in the age of AI and if so what action could be taken now by industry, and others, to get ready for what may come next and how we can mitigate future risks to our society and democracy.

  • Antony Walker, Deputy CEO, techUK (Chair)
  • Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Regius Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton and Chair, Ada Lovelace Institute
  • Anna-Sophie Harling, Managing Director for Europe, NewsGuard
  • Andy Parsons, Director for CAI, Adobe
  • Damian Collins, MP for Folkestone & Hythe
  • Nina Schick, Author and Broadcaster 


Closing Remarks

  • Antony Walker, Deputy CEO, techUK

Day 2 – Thursday 10 December


Welcome and housekeeping

  • Katherine Holden, Head of Data Analytics, AI and Digital Identity, techUK


Opening address & recap of day 1

  • Sue Daley, Associate Director, Technology and Innovation, techUK


Fireside chat – Professor Luciano Floridi’s to-do-list for 2021

  • Professor Luciano Floridi, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information, University of Oxford & Director, OII Digital Ethics Lab


Breakout sessions (delegates attend one)

COP 26: Digital and the road to Net Zero

With the countdown to COP 26 underway, this panel will focus on the role that digital technologies can play in helping the drive to net zero and will look at what the sector itself needs to do to address its own environmental impact.   During this breakout panellists will highlight technologies and initiatives supporting the decarbonisation of our economy and society, providing us with hope for a greener future. For low carbon solutions to be a viable option in the future it will require people to share their data. In this session, panellists will consider the impact COVID-19 and data-sharing solutions, such as the contact track and trace app, have had on people’s willingness to share their data. Has this year sparked a behavioural change in people’s attitudes towards data and if not, who’s role is it to build public trust and buy-in around the use of data to fight against climate change in 2021? Finally, the panel will discuss the key environmental areas we must all focus on in 2021, and what the ethical implications are of not getting this right.

  • Laura Sandys CBE, Non-Executive Director SGN & Energy System Catapult and Former Chair of the Energy Data Taskforce (Chair)
  • Greg Jackson, Founder and CEO, Octopus Energy
  • Eve Joseph, Global Sustainability Customer Lead, Microsoft
  • Dr Emily Shuckburgh, Director, Cambridge Zero
  • Steven Steer, Head of Data, Ofgem 

Public engagement and democracy - Getting this right in 2021

The current pandemic has arguably exacerbated the digital divide in our society, with many vulnerable groups being harder to reach than ever before. COVID-19 has also demonstrated the importance of ensuring that technology works for people and society and earning the trust and confidence of the public, particularly in scenarios where mass adoption of technology is critical to its success. Understanding public attitudes towards technology is therefore critical and the quality and focus of public dialogue going forward will be key. In this session panellists will discuss what we mean by public engagement in 2021 and how this has been impacted by the events of this year. As we continue to spend significant periods of time at home and online, how can technology be used to prevent echo chambers and keep people informed during critical events, such as elections and during a public health crisis. Finally, what are the key lessons and insights we can take forward with us in 2021 to ensure that citizens voices are heard? What more must be done to ensure that those that are vulnerable or at risk have the appropriate channels to raise their concerns?

  • Sue Daley, Associate Director, Technology and Innovation, techUK (Chair)
  • Dr Al Baker, Head of Editorial, Logically 
  • Hera Hussain, Founder, CHAYN
  • Annemarie Naylor MBE, Director of Policy and Strategy, Future Care Capital

The post-COVID economic recovery – Achieving inclusive growth

As economies and businesses turn their focus to building their digital capabilities to support recovery and augment future growth, how do we ensure that the benefits of digital transformation and economic growth are distributed across all parts of society and regions of the UK in 2021? What are the best practice policy approaches and business practices out there that are attempting to deliver equitable economic growth and how can these be scaled?

Also, as the focus begins to move towards recovering, rebuilding and reinvention of traditional industries and sectors how do we ensure that the next wave of economic growth is driven in an ethical, responsible way, and considers the impact on people’s lives in and out of work, and does not leave anyone behind. The panellists will also assess whether the push and pull factors that currently exist are enough to get this right and if not where more work is needed.

  • Antony Walker, Deputy CEO, techUK (Chair)
  • Dr Christina J. Colclough, Founder, Why Not Lab
  • Jonathan Dowden, Product Manager, Small Business, Sage 
  • Priya Guha, Venture Partner, Merian Ventures
  • Hetan Shah, Chief Executive, British Academy




Final plenary session- Moving forward in 2021

For our final session, panelists will look forward to 2021 and discuss the key issues that should be on everyone’s radar in the twelve months ahead. The panel will share what is on the top of their agendas for 2021 and outline why the issues or areas of work they will be focusing on are key to make progress in operationalising and putting digital ethics principles into real action next year. It will discuss key issues including how traditional sectors and industries wanting to get digital ethics right can be supported as they digitally transform, the role that technologies, such as digital ID, could play as part of the UK’s future economic recovery and the ethical issues this could raise, how to prepare and empower people to prepare and re-train for the future of work in a post COVID-19 economy and the steps that may be needed next year to close the digital skills gap and how we ensure data represents the society we all live in.

The panel will also look slightly further into a future which is expected to be defined by the way we respond to the economic, social and environmental challenges we face today and the way in which advanced digital technologies will be adopted and integrated into everyday life. It will discuss whether the UK has the right organisations, infrastructures, mechanisms, energy and ambition for what comes next and what role the digital ethics community should play as we continue to move forward at pace.

  • Sue Daley, Associate Director, Technology and Innovation, techUK (Chair)
  • Jamie Barnard, General Counsel - Global Marketing and Media, Unilever
  • Pier Culazzo, Head of Digital Identity, Data Products and Data Science, Visa
  • Tabitha Goldstaub, Co Founder, CognitionX and Chair of the UK Government's AI Council
  • Carly Kind, Director, Ada Lovelace Institute
  • Simon Lambert, Chief Learning Officer, Microsoft


Closing Remarks

  • Antony Walker, Deputy CEO, techUK


Summit Close