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Sciencewise event on Robotics draws wide interest in potential future dialogue

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On 7 March 2016 Sciencewise facilitated a half-day event on behalf of the Government Office for Science (GO-Science) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) on Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS), including Artificial Intelligence (AI). Invitations to the event came directly from Sir Mark Walport as Government Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of GO-Science.

73 people attended the event including Government policy makers, academics and industry leaders. These interests had also helped design the workshop. Demand was so great that a larger venue was found.

The purpose of the event was to map issues of potential concern to the public in the sphere of RAS to enable Government to create coherent, cost-effective public dialogue processes which will test assumptions and create better policy.

Sir Mark Walport introduced the event, and drew attention to the value of public dialogue based on the example of the HFEA’s Mitochondrial Replacement dialogue (run with Sciencewise support). The Department for Transport (DfT) then introduced their experience of the dialogue project they are currently running on drones (also with Sciencewise support). DfT stressed how they had come to see the value of dialogue, having started as sceptics.

A follow-up event was held on 18 March specifically for Government policy makers to identify in more detail which ideas could be taken forward from the large number that had emerged as potentials for future public dialogue including the implications of RAS for jobs, for health and aids for elderly and disabled people.

Notes from the meeting on 7 March 2016 are available here.