2017 Evidence Meeting 7 – International Perspective and Exemplars – Overview

 In Evidence, Evidence Meeting Overview

Evidence Meeting 7 | Monday, 30 October 2017 | 5:30 – 7:00pm
Committee Room 4A, House of Lords

Main Focus:

Which countries/communities are more prepared for AI – and can we use them as exemplars/case studies? Questions to consider:
  • Best practice?
  • National or international issue: Can one individual nation decide on their AI policy and regulation, or do we need something multilateral?
  • Timing – when are we expecting these changes to take place? 3 to 5 years or 10 to 20 years?



  • Janghyun Yoon – Mayor of Gwangju Metropolitan City, with his speech on “Smart Human City, Gwangju, in the era of AI – Harmony of Mobility, Energy, Culture and Human Rights”
  • Allan Dafoe – Research Fellow at Future of Humanity Institute, University of Oxford, and Assistant Professor of Political Science, Yale University
  • Andy Forrester – Director, HypeAccelerator Solutions
  • Parry Malm – CEO, Phrasee
  • Catelijne Muller – ‎Rapporteur on Artificial Intelligence, European Economic and Social Committee
  • Dr Scott Steedman CBE – Director of Standards, BSI Group
  • Alenka Turnsek – Co-leader UK value chain transformation tax network, PwC
  • Dr Blay Whitby – Associate Tutor, Engineering and Design, Informatics, University of Sussex
  • Lisa De Bonis – Executive Digital Director, Havas London, and Cannes 2017 Juror


AI is receiving more and more attention from the international arena as governments across the world are racing to figure out what are its economic and social opportunities, as well as mitigate potential risks and dangers for society. Hence, the seventh APPG AI session, chaired by Stephen Metcalfe MP, gathered evidence on the different international perspectives on AI and exemplars.

Mayor Yoon of Gwangju, one of South Korea’s most innovative cities, attended the meeting and acknowledged the group for their important work in informing the government on AI implications. He discussed Gwangju’s strategy in preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and how, as Mayor, he is building a “smart human city.” He advised for international governments to focus on high impact, not just on high tech.

Allan Dafoe, from the Future of Humanity Institute, was next in the panel, reminding Parliamentarians and other key stakeholders the lack of consensus on technological progress. He suggested policies and institutions need to be robust to unexpected surprises AI might bring. AI is both an issue on the national and international domain. The UK should “lead by example” and focus on building a national infrastructure and investing in government competency in respect to AI. For best practices, UK can look at Canada.

Executive Digital Director at Havas, Lisa De Bonis, provided some best practices from the international arena from a marketing perspective. Individuals are bombarded with over 5,000 messages per day and studies show that they often feel overwhelmed. Hence, companies are struggling to create a sense of purpose and AI can help them understand their customer needs. One case study is a chatbot created for a global condom brand that can be used via Facebook Messenger to answer questions teenagers might have regarding sex. This product shows how key personalisation is in this era. Lisa suggested government to empower SMEs to recognize how AI can work for them, to invest in academia and attract a diverse group of programmers, and to “walk the walk” by making sure government has a sharing culture.

Andy Forrester spoke about his work as technology advisor for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Service. He spoke to the group about use cases within the UK public sector, highlighting how technology is increasing efficiencies in The Met Office, the Science and Tech Facilities Council, and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. He recommended that the APPG AI serves as a platform to connect different organisations and stakeholders. APPG AI should disrupt the status quo, he suggested.

CEO Parry Malm from Phrasee, a company that writes better email subject lines than humans, spoke about his experience being in the frontline of AI. He urged the UK government to consider long-term implications to become a leader in the digital economy of tomorrow. Although UK is a hotbed for academic research, this is not enough in order to reap the full benefits of AI. He called for government to build policies that ensures the future workforce represents diverse groups, opens borders to innovation and new talent, and incentivizes R&D.

Speaking from the European perspective, Catelijne Muller from the European Economic and Social Committee provided evidence on the importance of ensuring “humans are in control.” A recent report published by the Committee identifies 11 domains of impact and several regulations and policies that have already been affected by AI. Governments must focus on the quality of AI to ensure responsible development and responsible use. She reminded APPG AI: “Technology does not overcome us and we have to manage it.”

Scott Steedman, Director of Standards at the BSI Group, informed Parliamentarians and the wider audience on how UK can lead setting the standards around AI. UK has already had an influential track record in international standard committees, with 95% of UK standards being international. There is an existing infrastructure that has already done much work in the area of standardisation, including BSI, International Financial Reporting Standards, and IEEE SA. UK best practices must be taken to a wider community to drive the economy and society forward. As in the past, standards for smart cities were created, we should use common language to do the same now.

PwC’s Alenka Turnsek shared evidence on how tax frameworks are transforming as a result of these AI technologies. Traditional tax structures were based on physical presence, but this has critical implications for some of today’s companies that are completely virtual corporations. Governments must consider how to tax a product that was produced and traded remotely. Alenka informed the group that there is no current international consensus on the issue, but this is dangerous for the future of international trade. These frameworks should be developed quickly and must be based on whether a country exports or imports AI.

Last to provide evidence was Blay Whitby, who has been specialising in AI ethics since the 1980s. His main conclusions for the UK is that it is not too early to regulate AI and that regulation must have an international approach. Now, technology can be created in various parts of the world with little control about the processes and standards adapted. Furthermore, the public is poorly educated about AI and its implications. Blay suggested the UK government to push for transparency and to lead the global arena in setting international standards.

Stephen Metcalfe asked the Parliamentarians and the wider audience to raise any questions they might have for the panel. Lord Simon Haskel asked about the priority areas government should first focus on. Scott Steedman recommended to use the APPG AI as a platform in which the community can voice areas of high concern. The Rt Reverend Dr Steven Croft asked for suggestions on how to communicate these issues to the rest of government and to the wider society. The panel agreed that AI can be used to help raise awareness and, furthermore, stressed the importance of using one common language. Blay Whitby, specifically, called for the establishment of “lingua franca” around AI.

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