Digit Debates: Why the world needs to worry about the ethics of AI

10 February 2021



Is AI a saviour or a curse?  The media will have us believe that AI will help solve all modern ills from cancer to climate change, but then scare us with the threat AI poses to our jobs and the stability of society. The reality is more nuanced.  AI has the opportunity to improve our societal wellbeing, but at the same time there are real risks that it already amplifies biases, weakens societal cohesion, invades our privacy, and allows governments to target and discriminate against individuals and groups.

More than 200 organisations globally, including the OECD and WEF, have published principles to address the need for responsible and ethical uses of AI. Regulators are starting to publish laws for the use of AI with support from BigTech, surprisingly.  With Covid-19 accelerating the digitisation of society, AI can only live up to its potential benefits if society can trust in its use.

This talk touched on:

  • What are the risks and challenges of AI?
  • How are the risks of AI being managed?
  • What regulation is coming down the pipeline?
  • How do China, the US and Europe differ in their approaches to Ethical AI?
  • What can you do to ensure the responsible use of AI?

View the slides


Simon Greenman is co-founder and partner at Best Practice AI where he advises organisations on responsible AI strategy, implementation, and governance. He sits on the World Economic Forum’s Global AI Council that is driving a global agenda to ensure the adoption of responsible AI.  Simon has over twenty years of international digital transformation and innovation leadership including co-founding MapQuest.com, the first online mapping brand. Earlier in his career he worked or consulted with brands such as Bowers & Wilkins, AOL and Accenture.

Simon chairs the Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of London, is an AI EIR at Seedcamp, and advisor at DN Capital. He holds an MBA from Harvard and a BA in Computing & Artificial Intelligence from the University of Sussex.

Related reading

Greenman, S. (2020) ‘Governments must build trust in AI to fight COVID-19 – Here’s how they can do it’ World Economic COVID Action Platform.

Cosgrove, B. (2020) ‘8 ways to ensure your company’s AI is ethical’ World Economic COVID Action Platform.


CogX2020 AI panel discussion with experts moderated by Simon Greenman, ‘Identifying and governing the risks of AI for executives’ .