On the 1st of November MARIE-project co-organised an event called AI-morning, with representation from Tiina Ramstedt-Sen from The Council of Tampere Region and Matias Heikkilä from Tampere University. AI-morning was a public discussion event held at the Kampusklubi in Tampere, focused on “Ethics in AI”.

The event included speakers from many different fields: representatives from software companies from the healthcare sector as well as from the defence sector, researchers and public representation from the ministry of economic affairs and employment of Finland and Tampere University to name a few. All the speakers came together to discuss the future, technological progress and the role ethics should play.

The discussion focused on several important topics that are important both for the public sector as well as the private sector. Audience participation was lively, and the event drew a healthy crowd of about 70 people. In addition to ethics, main topics were governance and how ethical and responsible approaches do not need to hinder growth - nor does governance. In the field of AI, many of the ethical guidelines and policy practices are currently being crafted. The importance of discussion on the topic was highlighted throughout the session.

Discussion on governance focused mainly on AI as the field is new and rapidly growing. Still, much of the ethical debate could easily be applied to many different fields of R&I. Both the healthcare sector and the defense sector share a similar need for ethical debate, as both fields deal with human life directly, and both fields are in the midst of fast technological growth.

One important theme that cuts across modern societies is data. As there were several software companies present the discussion was very thorough concerning data. Specific themes included data security, data ownership as well as the flow of information. As in the field of AI, the policies are still being crafted. Data ownership and safety are current issues both on the side of research as well as business – for slightly different reasons. On the threat-side of the conversation concerns about data security are often in discussion. Here many ethical questions come into play, like “who has used my data?”, “can I see my logs?”, “is my privacy guaranteed?” among other things. In addition to all the threats that are portrayed in the media concerning data safety among other things, there are also new possibilities for business and societal progress that come with technological progress. For example, the flow of information creates new possibilities for holistic data-oriented approaches to many important issues, in the field of healthcare for example. The discussion on data ownership has also sparked new business opportunities, as companies are starting to offer services for data security and storage.

Overall, there seems to be a clear demand for discussion on the themes of ethics and responsibility. The MARIE-project has helped to bring actors from different fields together to discuss and create sustainable practices, through which ethics will furthermore bring in benefit to the Tampere Region AI ecosystem.

Photo by Tiina Ramstedt-Sen.