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Festival of Politics
19-23 August 2024

Tuesday, August 20, 2024

Who controls AI - the legality and ethics?

Time: 11am to 12:30pm

In partnership with The Law Society of Scotland and the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics

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£7.50 full price and £5 concession

Book tickets for Who controls AI - the legality and ethics? now *

Event description

While the Bletchley Agreement marked the first global AI safety summit, it's clear that AI is one of the most complex and challenging of human creations and is becoming more powerful and consequential to our daily lives. While politicians aim to shape and regulate AI, it's a handful of big tech companies in the driving seat.

So, who is factoring in accountability and genuine deliberation by the public? How do we regulate without stifling innovation? Who defines what is ethical and non-ethical AI and how do we ensure democratic global buy-in on any regulations?

Chair: Maggie Chapman MSP, Scotland’s Futures Forum


Festival of Politics panellists

Dr Dan McQuillan is a lecturer in Creative and Social Computing, Goldsmiths University, London. After a Ph.D in Experimental Particle Physics, Dan worked with people with learning disabilities & mental health issues, created websites with asylum seekers, ran social innovation camps in Georgia, Armenia & Kyrgyzstan, and led a citizen science project in Kosova. He also worked in digital roles in both Amnesty International and the NHS. He is the author of Resisting AI - An Anti-fascist Approach to Artificial Intelligence' and is currently AI co-lead for the ESRC-funded Centre for Sociodigital Futures.

Sheila Webster became President of the Law Society of Scotland in 2023 and has been a member of the Council of the Law Society of Scotland since 2017, representing Edinburgh constituency members. Sheila is a Partner and Head of the Davidson Chalmers Stewart Dispute Resolution team and has been involved in several cases in the House of Lords and the Supreme Court. Sheila is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, an Ambassador for the Scottish Arbitration Centre and a member of the Scottish committee of the Property Litigation Association.

Steph Wright is the Head of Scottish AI Alliance and leads The Data Lab Team. She is a data science enthusiast with experience in the healthcare domain. She has a diverse background ranging from astrophysics to genomics in academia and film & TV to dance in the arts and the third sector. Steph led on Data Lab’s efforts in support of the Scottish Government in developing Scotland’s AI Strategy and she’s now excited to help deliver the strategy’s vision for Scotland to be a leader in the development and use of trustworthy, ethical and inclusive AI.


All Scottish Parliament event locations:

  • are accessible by lift or level access, and venues are accessible to wheelchair users
  • welcome guide dogs or other assistance dogs

Some venues are fitted with induction loop facilities.

Please contact us in advance if you have any access requirements.  

Further information on accessibility at the Scottish Parliament.

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