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Artificial Intelligence: Promises and Perils

Do you know what artificial intelligence (AI) is? Would you like to find out more? Join us to discuss what we should and shouldn’t be worried about, and what AI might mean for our future health, employment and everyday life.  

Our Focus Day includes inspiring talks, discussion, an exhibition and an opportunity to chat with artificially intelligent agents. It is brought to you in collaboration with the Assuring Autonomy International Programme, a £12 million initiative funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation and the University of York to spearhead research, training and standards in the safety of robotics and autonomous systems (RAS). Its vision is to further enable the widespread and beneficial uptake of RAS by overcoming the obstacles to achieving regulatory and public acceptance.

Work at the University of York is focused around seven research themes which align our academic strengths to best meet the grand scientific, social and environmental challenges of our time. Learn more about the Technologies for the future and Risk, evidence and decision making research themes.

Saturday 16 June

11.00am - 4.00pm


Join us for an exploration of AI, robotics and autonomous systems: Have a chat with a chatbot; try out the Turing test and see whether you can distinguish between a human and an AI; see robots in action and have a go at programming your own; or play noughts-and-crosses against the computer and watch its ‘thought processes’.


12 noon - 1.30pm

Driverless Vehicles

Driverless vehicles have been hitting the headlines – autonomous cars, crew-less tankers and parcel delivery by drones. They promise improved freedom and efficiency, but how do we live safely in a world of AI?

Speakers include:

  • Richard Hawkins, University of York
  • John McDermid, University of York
  • Catherine Menon, University of Hertfordshire
  • Robert Oates, Rolls-Royce
  • Matthew Avery, Thatcham Research (Chair)

4.30pm - 6.00pm

The Future of Work

In the near future, an increasing number of autonomous systems will be placed in roles and given functions that were previously the domain of skilled humans. What are the implications of this for the world of work? The session is chaired by Sir Malcolm Grant, Chancellor of the University of York and Chairman of NHS England.

Speakers include:

  • Ivana Bartoletti, Gemserv
  • Kallum Pickering, Berenberg
  • Tony Prescott, University of Sheffield
  • Jon Timmis, University of York
  • Sir Malcolm Grant, University of York (Chair)

11.00am - 11.45am

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Our keynote address by Alan Winfield of the University of the West of England (UWE) will introduce you to the world of artificial intelligence, robotics and autonomous systems. Find out about the robots that are already here and part of our lives, and discover what the future may hold. The session is chaired by Sir Malcom Grant, Chancellor of the University of York and Chairman of NHS England.

Speakers include:

  • Alan Winfield, University of the West of England
  • Sir Malcolm Grant, University of York (Chair)


2.30pm - 4.00pm

Artificial Intelligence for Health

Would you choose to be looked after by a robotic carer? Could AI be used to support those with mental health issues? Is the potential for AI to revolutionise healthcare overhyped or could it transform the NHS?

Speakers include:

  • Ibrahim Habli, University of York
  • Pali Hungin, Durham University
  • Jess Morley, Department of Health and Social Care
  • Gurch Randhawa, University of Bedfordshire
  • Charlotte Stix, Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence
  • Tim Adlam, Designability (Chair)