AI, food and ethics

ai, food and ethics

What role should artificial intelligence (AI) play in fair food systems?

Our November 2019 Business Forum explored the nature of AI, how it is being used on the national and international level and what ethical questions its application brings up.

AI is being increasingly incorporated in food and farming alongside other technologies, in the UK and internationally. It can be applied in many forms, from machine learning, neuro-networks and data mining, to robotics, precision farming, behavioural analysis and food outbreak management. 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 and whose values are we embedding into AI and technology? Who owns the data needed for AI?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? These were some of the questions we explored.

Our speakers included Professor Andrea Zisman, The Open University and Hilary Sutcliffe, Director of SocietyInside. Geoff Tansey, Curator of the Food Systems Academy and Member of the Food Ethics Council, chaired the meeting.