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AI Ethics and Engagement with Children and Young People

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  • UserMhairi Aitken (The Alan Turing Institute)
  • ClockTuesday 07 September 2021, 17:00-18:30
  • HouseVenue to be confirmed.

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While recent years have brought significant and growing interest in ethical considerations relating to AI and machine learning, CS education or STEM outreach programmes typically focus on technical dimensions. This seminar will set out the importance of embedding ethics at the heart of education and youth engagement relating to AI. Embedding ethics throughout all CS education is vital to ensure that future technologies and AI-powered services are designed to maximise the value and societal benefits of AI while avoiding potential negative impacts.

This seminar will provide a brief overview and background to current debates around AI ethics, setting out key ethical principles and how they apply to AI, before discussing the ways in which these relate to children and young people. The talk will draw on current research being undertaken in the Public Policy Programme at The Alan Turing Institute to illustrate opportunities and approaches to engage children and young people with this important topic. Moreover, it will discuss the importance of engaging with children and young people to inform ethical practice.


Dr. Mhairi Aitken is an Ethics Fellow in the Public Policy Programme at The Alan Turing Institute. She is a Sociologist whose research examines social and ethical dimensions of digital innovation particularly relating to uses of data and AI. Mhairi has a particular interest in the role of public engagement in informing ethical data practices. Her past research has focussed in particular on the role of machine learning in finance; governance of data-intensive health research; ethical considerations around secondary uses of health data and; planning and development processes relating to renewable energy projects. Prior to joining the Turing Institute, Mhairi was a Senior Research Associate at Newcastle University. Between 2009 and 2018 Mhairi was a Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh where she undertook a programme of research and public engagement to explore social and ethical dimensions of data-intensive health research. She held roles as a Public Engagement Research Fellow in both the Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research and the Scottish Health Informatics Programme (SHIP).

This talk is part of the Computing Education Research series.

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