Top academics, industry leaders and government experts discussed the future of artificial intelligence at the Imperial Global Science Policy Forum.
Diplomats from countries including the USA, France, Germany, Malaysia, South Korea, Brazil and India heard talks from Imperial researchers and industry experts from Microsoft and Samsung.
Policy makers and officials from UK government departments for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Health and Social Care, AI and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, also attended the forum.
Imperial has more than 600 people working in AI and machine learning from all faculties across a range of disciplines.
Vice Provost and Professor of Artificial Intelligence, Nick Jennings, and Vice President Maggie Dallman welcomed the guests and speakers to Imperial.
Professor Jennings said: “Many of the most exciting developments in AI are embedded in and around research-intensive universities.
“Imperial's network of AI researchers are using and developing the technology to spot signs of cancer, improve safety of driverless cars, detect fake news and tackle humanitarian crises.
“Not only do we do the great science but shaping the policy for AI.”
AI grand challenge
Imperial recently hosted the launch of the government’s AI sector deal.
Key note speaker Professor John Aston, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Home Office and an Imperial alumnus, explained that the Home Office is using AI to process visa applications and detect modern slavery.
Professor Aston said: “AI and data is one of the government’s industrial strategy grand challenges, but all of the grand challenges will require AI and data to make a difference.”
The forum is also an opportunity for researchers to connect with leading industry experts.
Professor Andrew Blake, Chair, Samsung AI Center, urged universities and industry to worth together to nurture talented AI researchers.
Professor Blake said: “There is no doubt now that AI is at the core of industry and powers the biggest companies.
“Europe is a great place to do AI, people think of it happening in Silicon Valley, but we are very good at it. UK, Germany and France are all strong in AI.
“Universities and industry need to work together, nurturing talent together.”
Professor Chris Bishop, Director of the Microsoft Research Lab, explained how they are using AI techniques to create technologies for use in the workplace.
Professor Bishop said: “The pace of change and innovation, and coupling between basic research and applications is spinning faster.”
AI research breakthroughs
The forum also provided opportunity for Imperial academics to update international governments and industry on their latest research breakthroughs in AI and machine learning.
Dr Aldo Faisal,from the Department of Bioengineering and the Department of Computing is using AI to predict the best treatment strategy for sepsis patients.
The system ‘learnt’ the best treatment strategy for a patient by analysing the records of about 100,000 hospital patients in intensive care units and every single doctor’s decisions affecting them.
Dr Faisal said: If we can crack AI in healthcare we can crack AI in many other domains.
“Intensive care units are ideal for AI researchers as they are spaces with a lot of data recorded.”
Maja Pantic, Professor of Affective and Behavioural Computing, and leader of iBUG (Intelligent Behaviour Understanding Group), is a world leader in using AI for facial analysis.
Her team have developed technology enables a robot called Zeno to interact in real-time with children who have autism by recognising and replicating their expressions.
Professor Pantic said: “If you can track and understand face then you can apply this in a wide variety of applications. This kind of technology has really great applications, such as in the medical sector.”
Dr Ben Glocker, from the Department of Computing, explained that in the UK is facing a medical imaging crisis with 300,000 patients waiting for imaging results.
Dr Glocker said: “AI can help us analyse scans, ideally better than a human. If we achieve this AI can transform healthcare.”
The forum also hosted an AI exhibition for guests to see some of Imperial’s cutting edge technology such as machines that are teaching themselves to spot the signs of heart failure, programmes for detecting fake news and software to help autonomous vehicles predict pedestrian behaviour.
The Imperial Global Science Policy Forum helps connect senior international science, education and innovation advisers to researchers and industry experts.
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