AI, FOOD AND ETHICS…What role should artificial intelligence play in fair food systems?

The Food Ethics Council Business Forum is a group of progressive business leaders in food and farming, who meet to discuss the big issues of the day, under the Chatham House Rule. This is one of a series of events open to Business Forum members. For anyone who is not currently a member but is interested in attending, please contact

Artificial intelligence (‘AI’) is being increasingly used in food and farming, in the UK and internationally. Examples include robots, smart irrigation, precision agriculture, plant data and analysis, farm management software and animal data. Before AI takes off (if it does), it is important to press the pause button and reflect on some of the ethical questions raised by some of its many applications.

What problems are we collectively trying to solve where AI has a potentially transformative role to play? What do “intelligent machines that work and react like humans” really look like when it comes to food and farming? What might be the impacts of employing artificial intelligence within the current dominant cheap food paradigm? How might AI help us transition to new paradigms where fair food systems are the norm? Join us to explore these and other important questions

The meeting will provide an opportunity to:
• Explain what we mean by artificial intelligence and machine learning
• Weigh up the pros and cons of using AI in food and farming different circumstances
• Consider the potential for AI applications in food & farming to enable or hinder fair food systems and their role in a future national food strategy
• Explore what kind of food systems we want and how AI might be used to transform our food systems, not to reinforce business as usual
• Discuss what progressive food and farming businesses should do in relation to AI

Our speakers will include Sam Watson Jones, Co-founder of the Small Robot Company and Hilary Sutcliffe, Director of SocietyInside. Geoff Tansey, Curator of the Food Systems Academy and Member of the Food Ethics Council, will chair the meeting.


19th November 2019
4:45 - 8:30 pm


The Zetter Townhouse
Saint John's Square

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