Artificial Intelligence

Adapt launches citizens assembly on AI innovation

Members of the public invited to decide whether AI is friend or foe
Image: Stockfresh

11 November 2021

A citizens assembly focused on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Innovation has been launched as part of the SFI ADAPT Centre’s Citizens’ Think-In initiative. The multi-venue, interactive event explored the information we give to apps and home assistant devices and questioned whether we are giving away too much of our personal information for enough return. 

Formed part of the broader Science Week calendar and SFI’s Creating our Future initiative, members of the public from across Ireland were invited to join a physical event in one of four locations: Athlone; Cork; Maynooth; and Dublin.  For those who couldn’t join the physical event there was a hybrid option to join online. All the locations were connected, and the discussion formed an all-Ireland conversation on Artificial Intelligence.

The event also drew interest from local business leaders from Mersus Technologies, Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR), and Sidero Technology Solutions who are embracing new technologies and new ways of working.




“Adapt’s citizens’ think-ins provide an informal forum through which Irish adults and AI researchers can discuss the potential opportunities, risks, challenges and benefits of emerging technology innovations to individuals and society,” said Laura Grehan of the Adapt Centre. “This Science Week think-in has helped us understand better public views on AI and identify future priorities for our research. We look forward to hosting more AI think-ins in the coming months and providing more opportunities for the public to contribute to this national conversation on AI.”

Speaking at the launch, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy said: “Artificial Intelligence is one of the technologies with the greatest potential for transformation in all areas of productive activity, and with it there are significant opportunities for us to create the economy and the society we would like – greener, more productive, more competitive and more resilient. It is not a technology of the future; it is a technology of the here and now. It is changing the way we work and live, and opening up new ways to address problems in almost every field. Through its development and effective use, we can tackle some of the biggest social challenges – from climate change to healthcare.

“Now is the time, in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis and with signs of economic recovery on the horizon, to look forward to the opportunities presented by AI and other disruptive technologies for building our economic and social recovery but we must be prepared for it. The National AI Strategy launched earlier this year sets out our roadmap to promote ethical, human-centred AI innovation and through the work and collaboration between all sectors of society from research centres, such as the Adapt Centre, to the public sector and industry will help ensure the development of trustworthy AI systems. As one of many events being run this Science Week, I’m delighted to take part in this AI-focussed event with the Adapt Centre and advanced technologies in manufacturing cluster (ATIM), where we can come together to explore the benefits and the potential challenges we might face with wider adoption of these technologies.”

The event was facilitated by radio presenter Ronan Berry who hosts ‘Taking Care of Business’ on Midlands 103 FM.

TechCentral Reporters

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