Transforming Cities with AI: Law, Policy, and Ethics

The ILPC’s Annual Conference and Lecture will take place on Friday 23rd November 2018, followed by an evening reception.

Promises abound that technologies and systems using artificial intelligence (AI), like machine-learning techniques, could play a major role in developing safer, more sustainable, and equitable cities, creating paragons of democracy. AI-based technologies have already made positive contributions to the collection and analysis of data that benefit us all daily.

These include how we communicate and travel, the increasing speed and depth of medical research through enhanced pattern recognition, and insights from traffic flows enabling more tailored and environmentally-friendly transport systems that will contribute to more sustainable and efficient cities.

There are concerns, however, that the development and governance of cities based on ‘Big Data’ and complex processes of automated decision-making, like wide-scale use of facial recognition, the tracking of wearables, and predictive analysis, mark the beginning of an entrenched encroachment on the individual’s autonomy, liberty, and privacy.

This apprehensiveness persists alongside recognition that the effective, lawful, and ethical governance of these systems could serve the public interest, including AI-driven systems (predictive policing) which could be used to prevent crime and ensure public safety.

At the ILPC’s Annual Conference, policymakers, practitioners, industry, civil society, and leading academic experts will address and examine the key legal frameworks and policies relevant to the governance and regulation of AI-driven systems that are changing our daily interactions, communications, and relationships with the public and private sectors.

Key speakers, chairs, and discussants at the Annual Conference will provide a range of national and international legal and policymaking insights from the UK, Europe, and China, including:

  • Baroness Onora O’ Neill, Crossbench Member of the House of Lords and Board Member of the Centre for the Future of Intelligence, University of Cambridge
  • Tony Porter, Surveillance Camera Commissioner
  • Silkie Carlo, Chief Executive of Big Brother Watch
  • Sophia Adams Bhatti, Director of Legal and Regulatory Policy, Law Society of England and Wales
  • Chief Superintendant David Powell, Head of Intelligence and Analysis, Hampshire Constabulary
  • Helena U. Vrabec, Legal and Privacy Officer, Palantir Technologies

These debates and conversations will examine how best to realise the potential societal benefits of AI through digital innovation and open data whilst also respecting the individual’s rights to privacy, due process, and equality. For instance, key to effectively protecting these rights is the development of legal and technical systems that are designed and governed with the aim of addressing, instead of perpetuating, existing gender, racial, or ideological biases within society.

Relevant governance regimes under review will include the UK Data Protection Act 2018, which implemented both the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the EU Police and Criminal Justice Data Protection Directive, the UK Human Rights Act 1998 which requires that any data processing by the State must be compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, and the UN’s international framework for corporate social responsibility – the Sustainable Development Goals. All of these frameworks share the aim of protecting and ensuring compatibility with key governance principles of fairness, transparency, and accountability.

The ILPC is delighted to announce that Baroness Onora O’Neill, a leading philosopher in politics, justice, and ethics, a Crossbench Member of the House of Lords and Advisory Board Member of the University of Cambridge Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (CFI) will deliver this year’s ILPC Annual Lecture. The lecture will launch the ILPC Annual Conference and will be followed by a keynote panel.

In the interests of prioritising public engagement with these significant and cutting-edge policymaking areas of public interest, attendance is free of charge thanks to the support of our sponsors, Bloomsbury Professional and the John Coffin Memorial Trust, although registration is required as places are limited. Registration to the Conference is available here.

Selected papers from the conference’s plenary sessions and panels will be featured in a special issue of Bloomsbury’s Communications Law journal, following a peer-review process. Those giving papers will be invited to submit full draft papers to the journal for consideration by the journal’s editorial team.

The full programme of the Conference is available here.

About the Information Law and Policy Centre at the IALS:

The Information Law and Policy Centre (ILPC) produces, promotes, and facilitates research about the law and policy of information and data, and the ways in which law both restricts and enables the sharing, and dissemination, of different types of information.

The ILPC is part of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS), which was founded in 1947. It was conceived, and is funded, as a national academic institution, attached to the University of London, serving all universities through its national legal research library. Its function is to promote, facilitate, and disseminate the results of advanced study and research in the discipline of law, for the benefit of persons and institutions in the UK and abroad.

About Communications Law (Journal of Computer, Media and Telecommunications Law):

 Communications Law is a well-respected quarterly journal published by Bloomsbury Professional covering the broad spectrum of legal issues arising in the telecoms, IT, and media industries. Each issue brings you a wide range of opinion, discussion, and analysis from the field of communications law. Dr Paul Wragg, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Leeds, is the journal’s Editor in Chief.