Artificial intelligence, society and the media: How can we flourish in the age of AI?

The BBC Blue Room and BBC Academy explore how AI is likely to transform the world we live in and how media organisations should respond.




london, BBC Radio Theatre / Media Café, New Broadcasting House, W1A 1AA


Watch the live stream here. 

The last few years have seen AI start to transform many facets of our lives, from transport to healthcare, finance and increasingly, the media. Society is being shaped by its use and for some the impact has been positive. But there are also serious concerns about the ethics of AI and consequences of its misuse.

To explore these issues we have brought together leaders and practitioners from across the news, education, technology and creative industries. Join us to hear how the media will be critical in shaping AI's role in society and find out what we can do to make sure developments will be beneficial to all. 

Contact Louise Brown to find out about upcoming events or sign up to our distribution list.

Booking process

Please note that this event is by invitation only. You'll need a password, which you can apply for through our booking link, and you'll be asked to show your Eventbrite ticket (either on paper or via electronic device) at the door.

If you're attending this event from outside the BBC remember to bring along a form of photo ID, your Eventbrite ticket (paper or electronic) and do your best to arrive early for security screening.

Here's how the day will run:

Artificial intelligence: What you need to know!

10:00 - 11:30

The introductory session to this year's AI conference opens with a keynote speech from the BBC's chief product and technology officer Matthew Postgate. This is followed by talks on the basics of AI, its history and public perceptions, from Dr Adrian Weller, programme director of The Alan Turing Institute and senior research fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, alongside bestselling author, technologist and filmmaker Jonnie Penn.

Fake news, real problems: How AI both builds and destroys trust in news

11:40 - 13:00

The widespread use of AI and machine learning (ML) poses a number of serious challenges to news organisations that could affect audience trust. These include the manipulation of audio and video, as well as disinformation networks based around fake online identities and software ‘bots’. In this session we will consider two of the big questions: Who do you trust to tell the truth about the world? Who do you trust to guide you to relevant and important stories? 

This session will discuss the impact of fake news and other misinformation and how AI can both help and hinder trust between society and the media. It will include talks and a panel discussion with representatives from Facebook, BBC Worldwide and more.

Speakers include: Mary Hockaday, controller BBC World Service English; Ryan Fox, COO, New Knowledge; Luciano Floridi, professor of philosophy and ethics of information at the University of Oxford; Alex Hern, journalist, the Guardian; Ali Shah, BBC head of emerging technology and strategic direction. 

AI as a creative enabler

14:00 - 15:20

As BBC Four prepares to screen its first evening of programming curated and partly created by AI, this session explores AI as a creative enabler. 

The session will look at the stories we tell about AI and how they may have influenced the research agenda. It will also look at the stories we can tell through the use of AI and machine learning – from choosing camera angles to writing the commentary for nature documentaries.

Speakers include: Cassian Harrison, channel editor, BBC Four; Kanta Dihal, postdoctoral research assistant and the research project coordinator of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence; Stephen Cave, executive director of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence; Amy Cutler, artist and Anna Ridler, artist.

How can the next generation flourish in the age of AI?

15:40 - 16:50

This session focuses on our younger audience and asks how AI can help inform and educate the next generation. Alice Webb, director of BBC Children's, gives a keynote speech followed by a panel discussion hosted by Kathryn Parsons, CEO and founder of DeCoded.

Reclaiming control: When the conditions for flourishing are decided by others, what control do citizens really have?

17:10 - 18:45

The final session of the day is introduced by the BBC's chief product and technology officer Matthew Postgate, followed by a talk from author and mathematician Hannah Fry on being human in the age of machines. The session ends with a panel discussion featuring economist Diane Coyle and former policy advisor to the White House Terah Lyons.


Matthew Postgate Chief technology and product officer, BBC
Cassian Harrison Channel editor, BBC Four
Ali Shah Head of emerging technology and strategic direction, BBC
Doctor Been Kim Research scientist, Google Brain
Terah Lyons Executive director, The Partnership on AI
Jamie Angus Director, BBC World Service Group
Alice Webb Director, BBC Children's
Kate Coughlan Head of planning, BBC Design & Engineering
Doctor Adrian Weller Programme director for AI, The Alan Turing Institute, and senior research fellow, the University of Cambridge
Alex Hern Journalist, The Guardian
Ryan Fox COO, New Knowledge
Luciano Floridi Professor of philosophy and ethics of information, University of Oxford
Diane Coyle Economist and a former advisor to the UK Treasury
Jonnie Penn New York Times bestselling author, and AI doctoral scholar, University of Cambridge
Anna Ridler Artist
Amy Cutler Artist


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