Digital Trust & Security Seminar with Guest Speaker Dr Bran Knowles - Promoting Public Trust in AI

Time: 13:45 – 15:00

Venue: Online session

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Dr Bran Knowles, Senior Lecturer in Data Science, Lancaster University

Event Overview: There is a prevailing narrative that AI offers an enormous opportunity for positive social impact across any number of problem areas, improving our daily lives while driving economic growth, but that distrust of AI might prevent us from fully realising this potential. This is what underlies the significant focus on developing tools and strategies for promoting public trust in AI. But if AI adoption is our only concern, then we need not bother worrying about trust or trustworthiness. The public will adopt AI because they have no meaningful choice to reject it.

We are entering an age of pervasive AI: AI components will be in every product or service, it will drive all decision making in some form. In this world, what can we say of the nature of any trust relationship between a lay person and AI? Approaches to promoting public trust in AI assume that greater transparency is needed so that individuals can see that the AI is indeed trustworthy. This assumes that individuals are capable of forming trust in AI in a way that is reasonably similar to how individuals form interpersonal trust relationships. In this talk I will show that existing models of trust in AI do not scale to the context of pervasive AI, and will argue instead that the public is trusting/distrusting in AI-as-an-institution – i.e. in a system which either demonstrably constrains AI in ways that prevent harm to the public, or a system which fails to do so.

This talk offers a theoretical scaffolding for understanding the importance of regulation, and AI documentation that enables this regulation, as the only path to promoting public trust in AI. It also attempts to unravel the faulty and dangerous narrative that trust in AI is important only for instrumental reasons, when in fact trust and distrust are key signals as to whether AI lives up to our moral standards and contributes to a society we want to live in.

Event Schedule:

13:45 - Registration 

14:00 - Welcome and introduction with Dr Theodore Papamarkou, The University of Manchester

14:10 - Guest speaker Dr Bran Knowles - Promoting public trust in AI

14:50 - Q&A 

15:00 - Event close 

Speaker Bio: Dr Bran Knowles is a Senior Lecturer in the Data Science Institute at Lancaster University. Her research explores socially responsible and trusted computing across a wide range of contexts, increasingly trustworthy AI. She currently serves on the ACM Europe Technology Policy Committee.

Dr Bran Knowles