09 Sep 2021

Principles in Action: New ethics roundtable series

In a new series of private roundtables, techUK members will dig deeper into the application of ethical principles

The nature of modern technology, changing how we do almost everything at a rapid pace, makes it an area ripe for ethical investigation. Approaches taken to the development of technologies today will shape our future, and this draws the attention of policymakers, regulators, ethicists and members of the public across the globe.

The tech industry is at the centre of this attention and is increasingly applying strategies to confront the ethical questions posed by the products they create, and the way they are being created. Since 2010, more than 170 ethical AI frameworks have been published by a mix of public, private and civil society groups, the vast majority of them within the last five years.

In this series of roundtables, techUK will bring together members to dig deeper into the application of ethical principles. Industry representatives will get a chance to share both lessons and challenges in a confidential space, and to ask their peers questions about approaches taken and outcomes reached.

The aim of the event series is to grow industry best practice through dialogue. They will be for techUK members only and run under Chatham House Rules without a discussion write-up, to allow attendees to speak as freely as possible.

If you would like to suggest a theme for a future roundtable, please get in touch with [email protected].

The first roundtable took place on 7 October 2021, and you can find details about the theme covered below. More events will be added shortly.

Who takes charge of digital ethics? The relationship between engineers and legal departments – 7 October 2021, 15.30-17.00

In this roundtable we will explore how organisational allocation of responsibility can help or hinder putting ethics into practice. While questions of ethics may historically have been placed alongside regulatory compliance with legal teams, there is an increasing movement to involve developers in assessments of ethical risk and mitigation – if nothing else, this could flag risks at an earlier stage of the development cycle.

We will discuss how different techUK members are approaching the ‘splitting’ of ethical responsibility, how collaboration between departments is encouraged (with a particular focus on engineering and legal departments), and which lessons have been learned so far about building closer relationships between colleagues who may not have had much overlap before.

We will be joined by Pete Rai, Principal Engineer at Cisco and member of techUK’s Digital Ethics Working Group, who will kick off the discussion with some of his own experiences and insights. Attendees will then share perspectives from their organisations and views on the best ways to administer responsibility for ethics.

Due to the topic of this roundtable we encourage attendees to invite a colleague in a different department to sign up as well.

The event will be hybrid, with a limited number of tickets available for attendance at the techUK offices, and another set of tickets available for online attendance.

You can sign up to the event here. Please choose your preferred form of attendance at check-out.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Emilie Sundorph

Emilie Sundorph

Programme Manager – Digital Ethics and Artificial Intelligence, techUK

Emilie joined techUK in June 2021 as the Programme Manager for Digital Ethics & AI.

Prior to techUK, she worked as the Policy Manager at the education charity Teach First and as a Researcher at the Westminster think tank Reform. She is passionate about the potential of technology to change people's lives for the better, and working with the tech industry, the public sector and citizens to achieve this.

Emilie holds a master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from LSE. In her spare time she is currently trying to learn Persian and improve her table tennis skills.

[email protected]
+44 (0) 07523 481 331

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