2017 Cumberland Annual Student Conference

30 November 2017


 We held the annual CoMPLEX conference at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park. As well as student talks, we used the conference as an opportunity to talk about politics, AI, and science in the context of recent political events: our theme was "Post-Truth and AI".

Speakers from an unusually wide variety of backgrounds came to talk to us including the charitable sector, business, social science, and the legal philosophy of killer robots.


We heard from people using data science for very different purposes:  Charlie Harrison (DataKind, CoMPLEX graduate) talked about working with data science for charities, Tharindi Hapuarachchi (Thomson Reuters, CoMPLEX graduate) showed us how Thomson Reuters use data for business and news reporting, and Gabriele Tiberti (SCL Elections) talked about machine learning for targeted online advertising.


On the political side, Gillian Bolsover (Oxford Internet Institute) spoke about the role of big data in recent politics and her research into the policing of the internet in China and the USA. Joanna Bryson (University of Bath) presented some of her research on post-truth in a variety of contexts, bringing in ideas from the social sciences about co-operation and the flow of information in communities. Finally, Ioannis Valiakos (University of Sussex) talked about his doctoral research into the use of AI in warfare and the challenges it presents for international law.


Attendees also enjoyed other activities beyond talks. Lewis Griffin chaired a lively and at times heated panel debate about the future of AI which spilled over into the bar late into the evening. Everybody failed a complex Turing test (a.k.a. a quiz) which included attempting to distinguish AI-generated art and music from human-generated masterpieces. 


The conference was well-attended and provided a great opportunity for people to practise their presentation skills in a friendly environment. As well as research talks, we had flash talks accompanying poster presentations which allowed everybody presenting a poster to summarise their work in front of an audience at high speed.