The University of Southampton

Machine Intelligence Showcase glimpses approaching impact of AI on society

Published: 30 October 2018
Illustration
Dr Enrico Gerding chairs the panel of machine intelligence experts, including Professor Dame Wendy Hall (second left).

Machine Intelligence experts demonstrated the latest advances from revolutionary new technologies in a packed showcase event at the University of Southampton.

A distinguished panel of AI pioneers and government chiefs discussed the research field’s expected impact on the UK economy and the necessary strategies to fulfil this potential at the all-day event, hosted by the University’s Centre for Machine Intelligence (CMI).

Machine Intelligence, which includes the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and Autonomous Systems, is using science to build a safer and smarter society. Researchers from Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) are leaders in several pioneering live projects and outlined the latest progress before an audience of around 200 industry attendees, government representatives and academic peers on Friday 26th October.

Dialogue in the afternoon panel session evaluated a forecast from a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report that UK GDP growth of 10.3%, equal to £232 billion, will be directly attributable to the impact of AI on the economy between 2017 and 2030.

Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Southampton’s Regius Professor of Computer Science and co-chair of a government review of the country’s AI capabilities, said: “The AI technology that is having an impact today was started 20 to 30 years ago at universities. We must now be thinking decades ahead and funding innovative lines of research to make new leaps forward.”

Liam Maxwell, National Technology Advisor to the UK Government, Deborah Fish, from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) AI Lab, Stephen Hennigan, from The Office for AI, and Professor Tim Norman, Head of Southampton’s Agents, Interaction and Complexity Research Group, also contributed to the panel.

Presentation sessions on CMI research at the showcase included topics exploring the unification of humans, machines and society, the development of machines that can learn and see, plus the creation of responsible robots that walk, fly and dive.

Attendees were presented over 40 student posters and demos, including a 3D-printed drone and deep learning computer vision algorithms.

ECS at Southampton has been at the centre of Machine Intelligence research activities for more than 20 years and has generated over £50 million of funding. The School employs over 130 academics, researchers and students working on the topics of AI, Robotics and Machine Learning. The CMI will continue this strong history as it creates a platform for industry-funded Masters and PhD studentships and facilitates centres of excellence in a number of AI-driven applications.

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