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Ada Lovelace Institute gets board to drive AI research for social good

The Nuffield Foundation has appointed a board to lead the development of the Ada Lovelace Institute as an artificial intelligence and data research body trained on social good

The Nuffield Foundation has appointed a board to lead the development of the Ada Lovelace Institute as a research body dedicated to making sure data and artificial intelligence (AI) have a social mission.

The institute is named after Ada Lovelace, daughter of the poet Byron and widely seen as a pioneer of computer science.

The announcement follows close on the heels of the disclosure of the make-up of the board of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation by Jeremy Wright, the government’s digital secretary, on 20 November 2018.

Executive chair of the Ada Lovelace Institute, Alan Wilson, has overseen the recruitment to the board.

Its members are Alix Dunn, a social entrepreneur who is a non-residential fellow at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and a member of the Technology Advisory Board to the International Criminal Court; Helen Margetts, professor of society and the internet at the Oxford Internet Institute, and Turing fellow and programme director for public policy at The Alan Turing Institute; Huw Price, Bertrand Russell professor of philosophy, academic director of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, and co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, University of Cambridge; and Hetan Shah, executive director of the Royal Statistical Society and visiting professor at the Policy Institute, Kings College London.

Wilson, who was appointed in September 2018, said: “The Ada Lovelace Institute aims to be the leading independent authority on ensuring that data and AI work for people and society. These appointments give us the strongest possible start in achieving that goal, providing world-class expertise in philosophy, ethics, data science and AI, technology, and public policy.”

The board members are tasked, according to the statement, with the identification of “questions or projects relating to the use of data and AI for investigation and deliberation, and will take a leading role in the exploration of those questions through working groups”.

The Nuffield Foundation is putting £5m into the institute over a five-year period, “in partnership with the Alan Turing Institute, the Royal Society, the British Academy, the Royal Statistical Society, the Wellcome Trust, Luminate, TechUK and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics”.

The Nuffield Foundation will appoint additional board members in 2019 “to ensure representation from different sectors and disciplines”.

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