Conference assesses impact of Artificial Intelligence on society in Wales

During a conference on artificial intelligence held at the School of Management, Swansea University and Lee Waters, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, called on academics to apply themselves to studying the impact of AI on society and how Wales could take advantage of the rapid development of this new technology.

Waters also highlighted how the Welsh Government is studying how AI could aid agriculture, aspects of health and what its implications are for industry and business.   

“Artificial Intelligence has the potential to transform the public sector, revolutionising the way people receive services and interact with public bodies, and I was delighted to attend the workshop to hear ideas and thoughts about the opportunities and challenges it poses,” he said.

“The fourth industrial revolution offers Welsh businesses the opportunity to be at the cutting edge of AI and this Welsh Government has commissioned an analysis of where Wales has the opportunity to become a world leader in the application of artificial intelligence.

“This is our chance to use technological innovation to reimagine the Welsh economy, all whilst strengthening our resilience to some of the biggest global challenges we face.”

The event was organised by Swansea University’s School of Management, Emerging Markets Research Centre and Swansea i-Lab (Innovation Lab), and supported by the Morgan Academy (a think tank named after former First Minister Rhodri Morgan) and the Department of Business based in the School.

Professor Yogesh Dwivedi welcomed the challenge set by the Minister and said: “Lee Waters sets us the challenge to consider how the transformative potential of AI can be used for the good of society, within a wide range of industrial, intellectual and social applications.

“The pace of change for this new AI technological age is staggering, with new breakthroughs in algorithmic machine learning and autonomous decision-making engendering new opportunities for continued innovation.”

AI has the ability to overcome some of the intellectual and creative limitations of humans and opens up new application domains within manufacturing, health, finance and education with resulting impacts on productivity and performance. Whilst this disruptive potential for some may be the next stage of an exciting technological phase accompanied by new job types and opportunities, the impact of AI on society has yet to be fully appreciated, and this event sought to stimulate debate on some of these challenging issues. 

Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, Senior Pro-Vice Chancellor at Swansea University said:

“I was delighted to open the conference on Artificial Intelligence. As a scientist, I understand the challenges and opportunities that AI offers to current and future generations. Using an interdisciplinary approach, AI can contribute to solutions organisations need in dealing with the challenges and opportunities the digital future holds.”

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