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FutureFest Forward



In Spring 2018 Ghislaine Boddington curated a series of events on AI and our future for Nesta. The series FutureFest Forward was programmed to take place ahead of the main FutureFest in July 2018, to engage audience in key topical debates.

These three evening events explored Artificial Intelligence and how we can start to see, feel and grapple with what it could mean for our daily lives. It attracted full houses at Nesta; changemakers, innovators and creative minds who want to keep abreast of new thinking as well as professionals tasked with solving social and public problems in their jobs.

The key questions proposed in the FutureFest Forward series were:

  • How can we ensure that the aims of human-level performance for AI takes into account morals and ethics, philosophical concerns and non bias judgements?

  • How can we ensure that human beings are empowered by the additionally of AI to our own intelligence, and that it expands and enhances our human experience, rather than manipulates and misuses us?

  • How can we participate positively within this burgeoning immersive and conversational collaboration with intelligent machines?

  • What is the best way forward in the use of AI to augment human beings, to help us advance with AI beyond planning, learning and reasoning into blended memory, decision making and creativity?

Three key topics were explored. See below for more information about each of the separate events and for links to the speaker videos.

FutureFest Forward: AI and Future Society

19 Apr 2018

The first FutureFest Forward event explored topical concerns of people today, concerns which have consequences for us as individuals as well as global citizens, issues which are facing us and have societal outcomes, both positive and negative. Experts explained how wider actions linked to our daily lives are shifting and changing our behaviours through the use of advanced machine learning and AI.

How responsible are metadata monitoring methodologies and prediction outputs? Are there collective ways of approaching and positively influencing human society through the meaningful use of data onwards?

What happens with our personal data in such changing times?

Chaired by Geoff Mulgan (CEO, Nesta) with inputs from Azeem Azhar (Curator, Exponential View), Ben Donaldson (Head of Campaigns, UNA-UK), Sheeza Shah (Founder and CEO, UpEffect), Ramon Amaro (Lecturer, Goldsmiths, University of London) and Ghislaine Boddington (Creative Director, body>data>space).

FutureFest Forward: AI and the Future of Work

17 May 2018

This event explored changes in the world of work linked to advanced machine learning and AI. We are engaging deeper in the mixed reality of both the virtual and the physical workplace, with the future of creative collaboration through remote connected teams – robots, avatars and humans working together – and with future cognitive cooperations.

How will AI effect the above and influence the ongoing moves towards the sharing economy, collective and agile working, zero hours contracts, universal income, home working and the gig economy?

Chaired by Charles Kriel (Specialist Advisor, DCMS Select Committee) with inputs from Harry Armstrong (Head of Technology Futures, Nesta), Rachel Higham (Managing Director of IT, BT), and Dr Phoebe Moore (Associate Professor in Political Economy and Technology, University of Leicester).

FutureFest Forward: AI and Creativity Futures

14 Jun 2018

Coinciding with London Tech Week, this event was specifically designed for academics, artists, product designers, technologists and funders interested in exploring the relationship between human creator and creative technologies.

Is the artist of tomorrow an AI itself with its own outputs and presentations, or are we engaging from now onwards in a time of exciting creative collaborations and conversations with machine learning?

Will artists set up the pattern definitions and allow the AI to create the flow? Can AI enable all of us to expand our creativity through “augmenting” ourselves?

Chaired by Ghislaine Boddington (Co-founder and Creative Director, body>data>space) with inputs from Victoria Vesna (Artist and Professor, Department of Design Media Arts, UCLA), Thomas McMullan (Writer and Journalist) and Yuli Levtov (Founder and Director, Reactify).

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