IoD event review: Artificial Intelligence impact on Space Technology

Image of Star Trek Space Ship Enterprise in Space
Editorial credit: Rob Lavers LRPS /

This inspiring event took place online on 11th September 2020 3pm BST, following London Tech Week’s focus on Space Technology. This webinar, organised by the Institute of Directors London Region, featured Lord Clement-Jones, a champion of AI ethics and Co-Chair of the UK Government’s All Party Parliamentary Committee on AI.

The speakers were:
Lord Tim Clement-Jones – Co-Chair APPG AI committee
Stephen Spittle – Emerging lead, Satellite Applications Catapult
Pauline Norstrom – Anekanta Consulting, IoD ERP/Digital Advisory
Anushka Sharma – Founder, London Space Network & Naaut

Special thanks to:
Joel Singh – Chair and founder, IoD ERP/Digital group
John Palmer – Co-founder ERP/Digital group
David Stringer-Lamarre – Chair, IoD London region

Check out the reviews on Linked In: and see an extract from Anekanta Consulting Founder’s speech below. When the video is available we will post a link. It is well worth coming back to see it, you are guaranteed to learn somthing new!

AI brings great benefits to many industries. 

In defence and security the underpinning AI technology usually sits in the background in Mission Impossible style, cyber secure control rooms. But surveillance using Facial recognition, hit the headlines when challenged by privacy groups.

The issues mostly related to the makeup of the watch lists used by the Police to identify people in public places, sometimes without their consent. There was a call for the strengthening of regulation and standards surrounding ethical use. In recent times, this and thermal imaging techniques are rapidly being adopted to make contact-less entry points and detect high temperature. 

When combined with video-based social distancing monitoring, these AIs are adding real value to COVID secure management. On a global scale, AI extracts meaning from difficult to access data sources including satellite data, to provide real-time situational awareness about a rapidly evolving incident.

This is important to augment human decision making by the security services. In this domain, real-time review and response can mean the difference between life and death. The AI does its job by making sense of so many different random activities happening at once, and the Space Technology provides a global view and cyber secure global connectivity.

Space plays extremely well into this and to other domains where AI also plays a vital role in the continuity of operations, such as in Aviation, Maritime and Military activities. If there is access to more data, faster, the ethical framework surrounding its use and for what purpose is even more vital.

Communications are global, data sources are global, and the ethics which underpin all of this needs to be global too. 

I believe that the UK government, industry and academia are moving towards a position where the UK is the driving force in the development and use of ethical AI further enhanced by general-purpose technologies including innovation in space.

Extract from Anekanta Consulting Founder Pauline Norstrom’s speech.

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