Future Debates are a series of events supported by the British Science Association.

These events are part of our work to make science a fundamental part of British society and culture. We want to empower many more people – not just scientists – to constructively engage in debates over the applications and implications of science in their lives, their local economy and the UK’s future.

Recent advances in areas such as artificial intelligence, machine vision, and physical movement technologies have meant robotic and autonomous systems are developing at an ever-increasing rate.

This advancement is taking these technologies into new fields and applications, bringing with them a vast number of new challenges, opportunities, and questions for society. How should we prepare for a new era in employment? What role should we give these systems in healthcare and education? What effect will they have on our social relations?

This event will bring together thought leaders to attempt to answer such questions and discuss the immense impact of robotic and autonomous systems on British culture.

Chairing the event will be BBC Radio 4's Helen Keen, who will be joined by a host of wonderful speakers including:

Maggie Boden OBE, author of Mind as machine: a history of cognitive science and Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of Sussex, where she helped develop the world's first academic programme in cognitive science. She holds degrees in medical sciences, philosophy, and psychology, and integrates these disciplines with AI in her research.

Tom Chatfield, associate editor at Prospect magazine; a faculty member at London’s School of Life; a Master’s Committee member at the Economics Research Council; past guest faculty member at the Said Business School, Oxford; and a senior expert at the Global Governance Institute.Tom also writes for the Guardian and is the author of 6 books on digital culture.

Steve Fuller, Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology at the University of Warwick and author of over 20 publications including Humanity 2.0: What it means to be human past, present and future.

Anthony Painter, Director of policy and strategy at the RSA. Anthony has previously worked for Google, the BBC and the Metropolitan Police, and is the author of three books including Left without a future?: Social justice in anxious times.

Judy Wajcman, Anthony Giddens professor of sociology at LSE. Judy was President of the Society for Social Studies of Science (2009-2011) and is currently a Visiting Professor at the Oxford Internet Institute. Her work, including her book Pressed for Time: The Acceleration of Life in Digital Capitalism,  has been translated into French, German, Greek, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish. 

Booking for this event has now closed.