Mariam Sharp, based in North Devon is the owner of arts consultancy, CulturalSIX. Earlier this month, Mariam attended the Technology Exploration Lab seminar on Accountability and Artificial Intelligence. The event featured an opportunity to win Udemy training for continued professional development, simply by participating and Mariam was the randomly picked lucky recipient.
Mariam reveals her creative background and why she was initially interested in attending the seminar: “My work with CulturalSIX usually involves working internationally. However, since the pandemic I’ve had more time to do research that reaches beyond my normal field and networks, which is how I came across Accountability and AI event. There are lots of myths around AI and I was interested in hearing from people that are involved in developing the technology.”
Mariam explained her understanding on the dominance of AI and how the event was valuable in appreciating the wider implications of adopting the technology:
“Most people I speak to imagine that they will interact with AI in some distant future, when in fact AI machines are more prevalent now and programmed to just get on with tasks without much interaction with humans. This has benefits in that it will free up people from repetitive and dangerous tasks, but also means people are not aware how much is already done using AI, that could be affecting their lives.
It was particularly interesting to listen to Ben Travers of Stephens Scown describe the trends in AI usage, and the ways that creative technologists are pushing the boundaries without always understanding the wider implications to society as a whole. Particularly in relation to ethics and rights in decision making and transparency. I've been aware of debates in the music sector around IP -intellectual property, such as who owns content created by AI, but the stakes can be much higher when it comes to business or justice systems or political governance etc.
The impression I came away with is that the technology is moving faster than most people in the UK are aware of, which led me to think that more needs to be done to engage people with the implications of AI, as ultimately the technology effects everyone. Also, it questions how people can best adapt to that speed of change.”
Mariam is looking forward to undertaking a course using her training prize and is eager to use her creative background to explore future collaboration with the Technology Exploration Lab: “I was surprised to win the prize and it’s great to be given a course on data science, which I’ll use to better understand some of the technology and processes involved. I’ll continue to take part in open access events that the SETsquared Exeter's Technology Exploration Lab offers. I’ll also think more about the ways arts and events can bring more people to these conversations.”
Remarking on Mariam’s experience of the seminar and prize win, SETsquared Exeter Technology Manager, Colin Dart said: “It’s great to see that Mariam is using the prize courses to enhance her understanding of data science and some of the components areas within. Her creative background gives her a great opportunity to look at how the two worlds can collide in the next wave of technology development. It’s this kind of experimentation that is at the heart of what the Technology Exploration Lab is trying to achieve. Through a series of events, workshops and 1:1 support, we are hoping to spark those ideas and help people to demystify technology areas ready for their own development journey.”