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AI is accelerating at an exponential rate and so are the concerns around it. But will we be able to harness this technology and drive towards economic growth - or will it, as some have predicted, take us to the brink of extinction?

The polarising opinions on AI prompted us to ask the question AI: Friend or Foe? To answer this, we gathered a brilliant group of experts across business, technology, the creative industries and academia to explore this issue in detail, in the second instalment of our Future Talks series.

Read the full event report here.

We began the proceedings with a ninety-minute industry roundtable hosted by Flavilla Fongang, Founder of 3 Colours Rules to discuss the Now, Near and Next for AI. Topics ranged from how to prevent misuse globally to whether regulation will ensure AI is developed and used responsibly. The discussion invited a lively and thought-provoking debate on the immediate and future use of AI.

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Following the roundtable, we had the pleasure of welcoming a range of guests to Plexal to begin the evening proceedings. We were delighted to welcome Charlie Muirhead, serial entrepreneur and Founder of CogX who delivered a powerful keynote, exploring the power AI holds in future-proofing the economy and what its rising popularity means for business and humanity more broadly.

Watch the event recap video.

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Next up was the lively panel session chaired by Flavilla Fongang, delving into the potential benefits and challenges of AI with Suhair Khan, Founder of Open-ended Design and Chair of Studio Wayne McGregor and Emma Wright, Head of Technology, Data and Digital from law firm Harbottle and Lewis. The discussion covered the scope of how AI will change design and culture, with advanced machine learning techniques set to take over the whole creative process, from conception to completion.

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Shortly afterwards, we welcomed the fantastic Jimmy McLoughlin OBE - host of the Jimmy’s Jobs podcast - for a fireside chat with the inspiring Michael Stein, CTO of Framestore - the Oscar, Emmy and BAFTA-winning creative studio that has worked on “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” and “Top Gun Maverick” - to explore how AI will impact the film and creative industries.

Michael showcased a short video ‘Long Live the Prince’ featuring the story of Kiyan Prince, a football prodigy, who tragically died after being stabbed at the age of 15 in May 2006 whilst trying to prevent another child from being bullied.

Utilising their own expertise in cutting-edge art and AI and collaborating with ENGINE Creative, fifteen years later, Framestore launched a campaign which saw Kiyan Prince become a playable character in EA Sports FIFA21 – one of the world’s biggest video game franchises - and sign for his former club, Queens Park Rangers where he wears the squad number ‘30’ to reflect the age he would have been today.

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As the evening drew to a close, it was wonderful to showcase phase one of Here East’s Virtual Twin, following its initial soft launch at SXSW in March. The Virtual Twin showcase was alongside a dynamic networking hour where attendees of the event continued to discuss their thoughts on AI.

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Thank you to all our brilliant speakers, roundtable and networking guests. We hope to see you again at the third instalment of our Future Talks series. Read more about our first Future Talks series on: What is the point of the Metaverse?

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