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Digital Environment Research Institute (DERI)

Professor David Leslie Leads AI Fringe Event putting Children’s rights and inequality on the AI Agenda

On November 2nd 2023, Professor David Leslie, Professor of Ethics, Technology and Society at Queen Mary University London, and Director of Ethics and Responsible Innovation Research at the Alan Turing institute, led an AI Fringe event aligned with the UK Government's AI Safety Summit, in partnership with the Alan Turing Institute, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on AI, and Big Innovation Centre


On Thursday Queen Mary’s Octagon was the proud host of the AI at a Turing Point: How can we create Equitable AI Governance Futures event, which examined the ethical issues of generative AI, with a key focus on data justice and children’s rights.

Led by Professor David Leslie, the event brought together speakers from across the world, seeing a keynote from Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences at UNESCO, as well as Baroness Beeban Kidron, a leading campaigner for children's rights.

The event, which was also livestreamed, marked the official launch of the national public sector AI Ethics and Governance in Practice programme, a series of eight workbooks that will update the UK’s official Public Sector AI Ethics and Safety Guidance, and featured a number of talks examining data justice, children’s rights, and inclusive international AI Governance.

Professor David Leslie highlighted the lack of attention the world has paid to the ethical implications of AI as the technology has rapidly advanced, noting, “There hasn't been enough attention paid to the ethical implications of AI systems that impact children and even less with regard to age-appropriate design. It's like a ticking timebomb.  What we've done today is to bring people together to outline what needs to be considered in setting up an AI framework, so that we can provide a roadmap for responsible development." 

Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences at UNESCO, called for a global approach to AI ethics. She argued that we have been approaching AI as a technological debate, but that it is ultimately a societal one.  "What we say at UNESCO is that inequalities in the upstream contribute to the inequalities in the downstream," she said. "And we're just creating a world with high concentration of computer capacity, skills, infrastructure, energy, and of course, innovation, and then the rest of the world is not really looking into that."

Professor Greg Slabaugh, who welcomed speakers in the 2nd half of the event explained the importance of discussions such as this in the rapidly changing field of AI, noting that “DERI was founded to bring together interdisciplinary researchers to tackle global challenges and societal issues, with events like the one that Professor Leslie has led today being exactly the type of discussion that is only achieved through collaboration from a range of experts, adding it was great to see so many researchers, in person, and online, engaged in the discussion”.

Queen Mary University of London, the Alan Turing Institute, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on AI, and the Big Innovation Centre are all key players in shaping AI policy. The event brought together speakers from six different continents to ensure that a wide range of voices and global perspectives are heard in this important policy debate. 


You can view the recording of the event on the Queen Mary YouTube channel:

The Alan Turing Institute: 

The Big Innovation Centre:

AI Ethics and Governance in Practice Guidance:

AI Safety Summit: 

Photo Credit: Pippa Ager



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