Wendy Hall ThinkOut Podcast

In the second episode of the NISTH ThinkOut Podcast series, our host, Assoc Prof Sulfikar Amir, Director, NISTH speaks with Dame Wendy Hall, the UK’s first AI Skills Champion and Regius Professor of Computer Science, University of Southampton, UK.  From the discovery of the world wide web to the onset of AI, they discuss the conveniences and disruptions faced.

They ask and answer the most daunting question of current times, ‘Can we control AI?’.  We have grown overly dependent on the internet, especially with the pandemic, digital communication has become the norm. Also, when the whole world piled onto the Internet in order to do anything during the lockdowns, it stayed up and running which is a huge testament to the foresight of the Internet pioneers in terms of its design and in-built resilience and scalability.

But the Internet has never been under such threat and its whole future as a globally interconnected system is in much doubt for many different reasons. This podcast delves into the history of the discovery of the world wide web to the onslaught of AI. The ‘new kid on the block’, has been given full freedom to explore all spaces, with no governance in place. Since AI systems are designed and developed by humans, they can be programmed and trained with specific rules, algorithms, and data sets to perform certain tasks or behaviors. So can we control where it ventures into before it is too late? Find out…

Brave Conversations London ’23


The next Brave Conversation will take place on Thursday 20th July at Newspeak House in London.

Brave Conversations London 2023

This is our 22nd Brave Conversations event and our third in London.

At our first in 2018 we had only just launched Brave Conversations and our work with the Web Science Trust was gaining momentum.

Since that time we have been to many different places and spaces but the conversations remain the same – how can we help Humans become Smarter in a world stuffed full of smart technologies?

Brave Conversations London 2023 takes place within the maelstrom of the emergence of G-LLAMs – Gigantic Large Language Models (Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin, the AI Dilemma )

“The biggest threat facing humanity today is humanity in the age of the machines.” (Mo Gawdat)

So what are G-LLAMs and what should we be thinking about as they increasingly pervade our lives – underpinning everything from our waking moments to our sleep.

We will be exploring

  • What is the definition of a human in the Age of the Smart Machine?
  • What is the role of a human in this Age of the Smart Machine?
  • How do we retain our humanity whilst harnessing the power of Smart Machines to improve life for all on Planet Earth?

We will be guided in our conversations by the use of Mark Moore’s Strategic Triangle asking:

  • What Can We Do?
  • What Should We Do?
  • What May We Do?

“We assumed people were going to do good things with it. We really didn’t have any idea of what bad things people would do with it.
Everything that is bad within society is writ large within the Internet. They lose their moral compass in a way.”

Professor Dame Wendy Hall in Interview with Beth Ridley




The goal of Brave Conversations is to challenge everyone who participates – regardless of what background they come from, or what their skillset and expertise are – to more fully explore and understand the interplay between humans, the societies we live in, and the technologies we have created.

We want to empower people to proactively make decisions about how we live our everyday lives, how we participate as commercial actors within the economy, and how we operate as digital citizens and exercise our political rights. That empowerment comes from demystifying data and information and understanding how it informs the everyday decisions which gradually create the future.

Each of those decisions begin on an individual human level – our bodies and our minds – and then emanates out to our families, communities, societies and from there to nation states. We are all responsible for the world we are creating and never has there been a time when we have more potential to influence the changes around us. But we need to be given the space for robust debate and respectful curiosity, learning from each other, playing with ideas, and asking the questions that are both confronting and potentially will take us to uncomfortable places.

Wendy Hall Newsnight AI Panel

WST CEO Professor Dame Wendy Hall was interviewed along with Professor Nick Bostrum on BBC’s Newsnight to discuss growing concerns around the use of AI, the need for regulation and the credibility behind claims of impending AI disaster.

The Video is a two-part piece with the Newsnight team discussing the background/context to the issue followed by a panel discussion with Prof. Nick Bostrom and Prof. Dame Wendy Hall

This video is provided under fair usage terms for news reporting, research and education.

Copyright (c) 2023 BBC Corporation

Dame Wendy Hall on AI

Dame Wendy Hall gives an interview on Sky News on the future of AI, the possibility of long-term dangers and how we can pragmatically engage with the risks of disinformation in the short term