Techonomy hosted the dinner in partnership with Wipro and attendees included executives, thought leaders, researchers, and policymakers. Several attendees also gave talks on AI at the conference, and the topics discussed included the gendering of AI, jobs lost to automation, and how to manage AI’s rapid growth. 

One of the critical topics of discussion was algorithmic bias. One attendee said, “AI systems are only as unbiased as the data they are trained on. If the data is biased, the resulting AI system will be as well.” Other attendees questioned whether creating an unbiased data set was even possible. Nevertheless, increasing diversity in the data used for training and developing more transparent and explainable algorithms was cited as a top priority for all AI development.


When the topic turned to potential job losses due to AI-based automation, no one at the table knew anyone replaced by an AI. A guest who manages a small, ten-person call center said they were looking at AI-based solutions that could result in job losses. When asked, they replied: “right now.”

The conversation at the dinner generally revolved around the ethical considerations that arise from the development and use of artificial intelligence systems. Attendees emphasized the importance of responsible AI development that benefits society while minimizing potential harm.

The conversation also touched on the topic of data privacy. As one attendee noted, “AI systems often require large amounts of data to be effective, but this data can be sensitive and personal.” Attendees debated how to balance the benefits of AI with the need to protect individual privacy, with some suggesting stronger data protection laws and privacy-preserving technologies.

The ethical implications of automation and autonomous systems were also discussed. 

Accountability was another topic of discussion, with attendees emphasizing the need to hold those responsible for developing and using AI accountable for any harm that may result. One attendee stated, “As AI becomes more widespread, it is important to ensure that those responsible are held accountable for any negative consequences.” Attendees debated establishing accountability frameworks that encourage responsible behavior and discourage unethical or harmful actions.


Finally, attendees discussed the need for increased transparency in AI. One attendee said, “It can be difficult for individuals to understand how AI works and why it makes certain decisions, which can be a barrier to trust and acceptance.” Attendees considered ways to increase transparency in AI, such as through explainable AI techniques, user-friendly interfaces, and open-source development.

Overall, the conversation at the SXSW dinner sponsored by Techonomy and Wipro highlighted the importance of responsible AI development and the need for ongoing dialogue and collaboration between stakeholders to ensure that AI is developed and used ethically and responsibly.