UCL European Institute


The Future of Artificial Intelligence: Ethics, Policy and Regulation

03 October 2019, 6:30 pm–8:00 pm


Paul Nemitz (European Commission) will give a keynote talk on the governance of AI

Event Information

Open to





UCL European Institute


Christopher Ingold Auditorium
Christopher Ingold Building
20 Gordon Street
United Kingdom


*Location changed to Christopher Ingold Auditorium, Christopher Ingold Building (20 Gordon Street)*


Artificial Intelligence (AI) has exploded in recent years, and AI-based technologies have become a core part of everyday life. Everything from social media timelines to online shopping recommendations, facial recognition systems to autonomous vehicles, are powered by AI.  

Rapid advances in machine learning and deep learning techniques mean that, over the coming years, AI will become increasingly sophisticated. Advanced AI could help to solve major problems in domains such as medicine and healthcare, energy usage, food supply and transportation. Many thinkers predict the emergence of ‘Artificial General Intelligence’ or even ‘superintelligence’, whereby the intellect of AI greatly exceeds the cognitive performance of humans in all domains. 

Governments and societies have struggled to keep pace with this rapid technological transformation. Given the current and future risks and harms associated with AI, it is crucial that they catch up. Such problems include unfair decisions made by algorithms in domains like criminal justice and mortgage lending, massive data breaches and privacy violations, and huge job losses and displacement. There is even the risk of arms races and proliferation of lethal autonomous weapons. Finally, authoritarian regimes could use surveillance, disinformation and lie detection technologies to repress and control populations.  

There is a growing consensus that the development of AI cannot be left to technologists and private companies alone. Governments and societies must agree upon how AI should develop, what role it should play and whether restrictions should be imposed. Organisations like the EU, OECD and UN have produced ethical guidelines and strategies on the governance of AI, and the UK government has set up the Office for AI and Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation. 

Focusing on the ethical, policy and regulatory questions linked with AI, this event will discuss:

  • What are the most serious ethical and societal risks associated with AI?
  • Do we need new regulations, laws or institutions to govern AI? 
  • What are the EU and other governments currently doing?
  • How can we ensure that policies and regulations do not hamper innovation and progress? 
  • Can humans and AI coexist in harmony?


  • Paul Nemitz - Principal Advisor, DG Justice and Consumers (European Commission)
  • Professor Joanna Bryson - Associate Professor, Dept. of Computing, University of Bath
  • Professor Helen Margetts - Professor of Society and the Internet, Oxford Internet Institute and Director of the Public Policy Programme at The Alan Turing Insitute
  • Professor Geraint Rees - Professor of Cognitive Neurology and UCL's Pro-Vice-Provost (Artificial Intelligence)
  • Oliver Patel (chair) - Research Associate, UCL European Institute

Organised by the UCL European Institute and UCL Public Policy


Image credit: PayPau, Shutterstock

EU logo