RAISE at BridgeAI

On 14th May 2024, Dr David Barnard-Wills, Research-Innovation Lead at Trilateral Research, represented RAISE at the Innovate UK Bridge AI One year showcase event at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, as part of a panel on responsible and trustworthy AI.  

BridgeAI is a UKRI and Innovate UK programme to drive the adoption of responsible AI in the UK by bridging the gap between innovation at implementation. It focuses upon tailored funding, expert support and knowledge sharing. Its targets are business in sectors seen as having a high potential for growth, including agriculture and food processing, construction, the creative industries, and transport, logistics and warehousing. Like RAISE, BridgeAI has a stated mission to champion responsible AI innovation. Bridge AI’s strategic partners include Innovate UK (The UK’s Innovation agency), Digital Catapult (the UK authority on advanced digital technology), STFC Hartree Centre (Science and Technology Facilities Council centre for high performance computing), the Alan Turing Institute (the national institute for data science and AI), and BSI (the UK national standards body).  

The theme of the event was looking back over the previous first year of BridgeAI, and included sessions on AI adoption across different industries, the support available from the BridgeAI partners, AI regulation and governance, as well as various networking and exhibition opportunities. 

Dr Barnard-Wills was part of a well-attended panel on Responsible and trustworthy AI. The panel was chaired by Channell Daniels (Responsible AI Manager at Digital Catapult) and featured Professor Keeley Crockett (Manchester Metropolitan University), Tim Davies (Research Director at Connected by Data) and Guy Gadney (CEO of Charisma.ai). The discussion covered different perspectives on responsible AI, the importance of good quality, meaningful public engagement and participation, public perceptions, and SME experiences with deploying AI, including some of the ethical challenges.  

David responded to questions the potential business value for efforts to be responsible, trusted and ethical AI developers or deployers. He highlighted the potential to open up new markets that wouldn’t otherwise be accessible (for example, with risk-averse organisations and parts of the public sector such as healthcare, education and critical infrastructure); benefits for public trust, brand reputation and by extension repeat business; benefits for employee engagement, recruitment and job satisfaction as people increasingly want to work for socially responsible companies. For AI in particular, responsible adoption allows organisations to scale with confidence, as they are not embedding problems and multiply inaccuracies. Responsible AI adoption also supports future proofing – having these processes in place will help organisations respond or adapt to future technology developments and trends. Trilateral CEO Kush Wadhwa has a recent blogpost on this theme. David also drew the audience’s attention to the draft RAISE guidelines for SMEs and that the project was seeking feedback on them. This was also shared after the event via LinkedIn.  

Questions from the audience included how to encourage a culture of responsibility around AI. Dr Barnard-Wills spoke about the importance of structures and processes, finding clients that align with a company’s own desired level of ethics and responsibility, but also a culture of personal responsibility, and the importance of including considerations around ethics of AI in recruitment practices so that companies recruit staff invested in responsible AI.