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Digital Catapult recruits two leading minds to join its AI Ethics Committee

Posted 1 Feb 2021

Digital Catapult’s AI Ethics Committee is growing in response to demand from startups on its flagship artificial intelligence and machine learning accelerator Machine Intelligence Garage. At the end of 2020, Digital Catapult sought to find highly qualified prospective new candidates to join the existing members of the AI Ethics Committee Steering Board, and selected Elisabeth Ling and Jonathan Drori CBE.

The committee consists of two elements: the Steering Board, that oversees the development of principles and tools to facilitate responsible artificial intelligence (AI) in practice, and the Advisory Group, that works closely with startups developing their propositions through Digital Catapult’s Machine Intelligence Garage programme. The Steering Board currently consists of Luciano Floridi, Sir William Blair, Dame Wendy Hall, Jenny Tennison, Jo Twist and Philippa Westbury.

Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult comments; “Recruiting two additional brilliant minds to boost our AI Ethics Committee will help meet the demand from the startup community for more of the kind of insight, experience and tangible benefits we have created since we started this programme of work over two years ago. We’re dedicated to continuing our mission to ensure that the ethical and responsible development of AI in the UK is less about theoretical discussion and more about practical, hands on support which can also spread throughout the ecosystem of exciting new businesses in this sector.”

Digital Catapult’s AI Ethics Committee Chair, Luciano Floridi, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information –Director at Digital Ethics Lab – Oxford Internet Institute – University of Oxford, adds: “Both Elisabeth and Jonathan bring a wealth of experience and I’m pleased to welcome them to the Steering Board. Our practical approach to integrating the responsible and ethical development of artificial intelligence and machine learning into the DNA of the UK’s startup community is having a lasting impact, and we’re pleased to be able to broaden this work to meet demand by expanding the expertise on offer.”

Elisabeth is a Product Management and Data Science Leader. Her expertise is in developing digital products and leading teams in start-ups, scale-ups and global companies. Her experience includes six years at PayPal & eBay and five years at RELX Group where she was SVP and Managing Director, Data Science, Analytics and Product Management for Elsevier Researcher Products. In 2019-20, Elisabeth was a member of the High-Level Expert Group on AI & Ethics for the European Commission.

On joining the committee, Elisabeth said: “I am delighted to join the AI Ethics Committee and help foster an ethical and responsible approach to AI and ML-based applications. With a world-leading AI Ethics framework already in place, the ongoing priority is to support UK startups to apply it meaningfully in their fast-paced journeys.”

Jonathan joins the Steering Board as a Trustee of The Eden Project, The Raspberry Pi Foundation, Cambridge University Botanic Garden and Cambridge Science Centre. He has particular interest in good governance and public uses of technology. He is presently an angel investor in socially responsible startups. Jonathan commented: “I’m delighted to be joining such an august group and hope that we can steer machine intelligence development in ways that are great for business but have a moral and ethical compass.”

The AI Ethics Committee welcomes feedback and opportunities for collaboration and can be contacted at [email protected]

For more information on the AI Ethics Committee, the Steering Board and its new members, visit the Machine Intelligence Garage website here.