11 Nov 2019

4 Key Takeaways from techUK’s Early Tech Career Network event on Data Ethics

techUK's Early Tech Career Network event, hosted by Visa’s Women in Technology Europe, explored the ethical use of data.

On Thursday 7 November, the techUK held its fifth Early Tech Career Network event exploring all things data ethics at Visa’s Innovation Centre.

The Early Tech Career Network was established by techUK to bring together leading technology companies and enable people entering the tech industry the opportunity to build their knowledge and add value to the organisations for which they work. The four expert speakers gave the audience a lot to think about, which can be digested into four overarching points:

1. Future of AI is responsible and ethical

PwC’s Maria Axente, Artificial Intelligence Programme Driver and AI for Good Lead, emphasised that organisations are now, and should continue to, strive to develop, implement, and use AI solutions that are both morally responsible and also legal and ethically defensible. Maria’s overview of PwC’s Responsible AI Toolkit presented the audience with a number of actions for doing so.

2. Trust is key

Jessica Lennard, Director of External Affairs, Data Science Lab at Visa highlighted the need for data and AI to work for people and society. Using data in more innovative ways has the potential to transform how services are delivered and trust between Government and citizens is needed for this. Government focus on transparency and accountability when building or buying new data technology and be clear about what they are using the data collected to achieve for users. Without trust it all falls apart.

3. Both the tech industry and the Government have a responsibility to act now

The digital economy is built on data. Ada Lovelace Institute’s Jenny Brennan, provided examples of recent use of facial recognition technology that left a bad taste in the public’s mouth. People fear the normalisation of surveillance, but mostly support technology when there is public benefit and safeguards are in place – both industry and Government must work on this.

4. There’s no one path to working in data ethics – it’s not just for people ‘in the field’

Louise Pakseresht, Senior Policy Advisor at Centre for Data Ethics & Innovation reviewed her career progression and showcased that anyone can work in data ethics. There’s no such thing as a ‘normal’ route into one of tech’s fastest growing areas – all skills, backgrounds, and experiences are needed. If the tech sector is going to continue to prosper, it needs to reflect the society it serves.

The audience asked the panel many questions, followed by pizza and drinks to round the evening off. Huge thanks to Visa’s Women in Technology Europe group for hosting the event at their fantastic Innovation Centre, and to all those that attended!

If you belong to a techUK Member Company and you’re interested in getting involved or would like further information, please get in touch with Nimmi Patel – we’ll put you on a mailing list to ensure you don’t miss out on registering as spaces fill up fast.

Nimmi Patel

Nimmi Patel

Policy Manager, Skills, Talent and Diversity, techUK

Nimmi Patel is the Policy Manager for Skills, Talent and Diversity at techUK.

She works on all things skills policy, focusing on upskilling and retrain. She is committed to embedding diversity in the UK tech pipeline from classroom to boardroom working with partners such as the Tech Talent Charter and the WISE Campaign. Nimmi also leads techUK’s immigration work, collaborating with techUK members and stakeholders to create an environment that attracts the best talent to the UK.

Prior to joining the team, she worked for the UK Labour Party and New Zealand Labour Party and holds a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Manchester and is currently studying MA Strategic Communications at King’s College London.

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