Trinity College Dublin: Citizen engagement workshops invite public to explore artificial intelligence, our future and how we create it

Artificial Intelligence (AI) was once the preserve of science fiction presenting either imaginative or nightmarish visions about the future; today it is a reality, and increasingly a major part of our daily life.

While many people are excited about the promise and potential of AI, others are confused and concerned. How will it transform our world and will it be for the better? Will it change how we work and make some jobs obsolete? Is there a danger that it will take over our lives? These are all legitimate questions and Discuss AI invites members of the public to join with leading experts from the ADAPT Centre at Trinity to explore the world of AI and how we can create and shape our future.

The majority of Irish people agree that those who will be directly affected by scientific research should have a say in how it develops. Discuss AI aims to do just that. The initiative is designed to engage and involve the citizens of Ireland in a conversation about AI and its impact on all our lives, from the devices we carry and the companies that gather our information, to how individuals can have more control over where our personal data ends up. The discussion outcomes will aid researchers in steering the direction of their research, potentially changing the direction of AI in the future.

Discuss AI events will run in conjunction with Creating our Future, a new Government-led initiative launched recently by An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin. Aimed at every section of society, it seeks to engage everyone in conversations in communities across the country, answering questions, and generating ideas for research. As part of this Citizen Science initiative, ADAPT’s Discuss AI programme of events seeks to engage with national public audiences in all aspects of human-centric AI to inform research and knowledge of how AI can impact our lives.

Professor Vinny Wade, Director of the ADAPT Centre and Chair of Artificial Intelligence at Trinity’s School of Computer Science and Statistics, said:

“AI has the potential to transform the human experience and improve our wellbeing but as with any frontier technology, there are opportunities and challenges. At ADAPT, we are conscious that the choices technologists make as well as the way in which AI is governed will have effects on society and we want to ensure that we have a wide input into the advances in this space. Discuss AI will give all people, regardless of their knowledge of AI, an opportunity to discuss how it can impact our future.”

Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), said:

“ADAPT is the world-leading SFI Research Centre in AI technologies delivering excellent science, engaging the public, and developing novel solutions for businesses in Ireland. ADAPT has already increased public awareness of the upcoming AI revolution and will ensure Ireland remains at the heart of technological innovation for many years to come. The launch of ADAPT’s Discuss AI, which forms part of the Creating Our Future public engagement initiative, will enhance this work even further and ensure the general public is kept informed of the latest advancements and research in this critical area.”

“SFI is currently working with the government to drive public engagement in research more broadly through the Creating Our Future campaign. We look forward to working with our partners in the Creating Our Future team, ADAPT and the Government to grow public interest and understanding of the impacts and benefits of AI technology on our everyday lives.”