Representatives from the Clwstwr team attended the second annual Beyond conference in Edinburgh, which focuses on research and development in the creative industries.

The 2019 gathering explored ‘the intersection between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and creativity’ and over two days, featured speakers from industry and academia covering topics from dark data to audience experience.

The discussion ranged from bouncing a voice off the moon (Harry Yeff) to Storyteller from the Future (Karen Palmer) creatively warning us about biases in AI.

Edinburgh-based cluster, Creative Informatics, also hosted a number of fringe events, including an AI Primer quiz which lifted the lid on data science. 

Here, the team reflect on Beyond and what AI will mean for screen and news:

Clwstwr Producer Greg Mothersdale said:

At the conference, I was reminded that any perceived danger within AI is from the humans developing and using it, not the AI itself (at least for now….) Thanks also to Carly Kind for establishing this early on.

Pip Thornton’s session on commercialising language - What are words worth to Google? - was brilliant and cleverly supported by printing out physical receipts illustrating the online value of words. I was really chuffed that the poem I suggested came in at £97! (I’ve kept the receipt).

Sarah Coward’s presentation on The Forever Project gave a beautiful purpose to AI - AN immersive experience enabling people to meet their heroes and role models even if they are no longer with us, providing understanding of important events and people.

Looking back, there isn’t time or space to describe all the thoughts running through my brain during the conference from cyborgs to immersive domes with biosignals.

My key takeaway was that, above all, we need to keep things human - AI is a tool or an enhancer but it should not control us.

Clwstwr Co-Investigator, David Dunkley Gyimah, said:

I thought Beyond was superb. The ability to get together a spectrum of creatives and academics exploring and sharing their ideas in immersive philosophies, styles and techniques sparked many complimentary ideas.

It was equally great to be with Team Clwstwr to swap ideas and to see Rony from AMPLYFI’s pitch that leaned more towards an invite to co-create and participate, which I'm sure, like other Clwstwrians, will yield expected results.

Watch Rony’s presentation on AMPLYFI’s Clwstwr project, AI in the Newsroom, here:

Yassmine Najime, of Clwstwr project Plan V, said:

In terms of R&D, and from a professional perspective, what was really exciting in the conference was to see so many people with a passion and love for new technologies. In particular, how research in fields such as AI and VR (which is what we are specialising in) can, if put to an ethical service, really improve the human experience in our societies and help us have, if not just an enjoyable time, at least an easier one while opening new doors to the unexplored. 

From a personal perspective I really enjoyed Carly Kind from the Ada Lovelace Institute talk about how it is essential to use new tech research and data to the advantage of humans all while keeping ethical barriers in place if we want to ensure the right development of tech in all fields.

It was all in all a very interesting experience and I've had the chance to meet some professionals who'll hopefully become our collaborators on some projects!

Clwstwr Producer Gavin Johnson said:

It was an insightful two days with some stark reminders of how exciting and alarming AI could be. There were fascinating discussions around AI bias, representation, policy and law, and where AI could be most effective.

Two stand out presentations for me included Dr Pip Thornton’s PhD - A Critique of Linguistic Capitalism - and Storyteller from the Future, Karen Palmer’s RIOT.