The Unveiling Of ‘The IET Artificial Intelligence Technical Network [AITN]’ 7220

The Unveiling Of ‘The IET Artificial Intelligence Technical Network [AITN]’


Dr Elise Tapping (Inaugural AITN Chair) is excited to announce the formulation of The IET Artificial Intelligence Technical Network. We are currently in a developmental period. We are aiming to form a committee by the end of 2021.

The purpose is to grow a worldwide technical network to support the growth of AI, by promoting and challenging conventional approaches in businesses and society. It will encourage the AITN community to focus on the integration of AI technology with ourselves and the world we live in by expanding its limitations, evolving technologies into standalone decision-making entities and how exploring this impacts ethics.

At the end of Mar 2021, the Technical Network Communities Committee supported the proposal to develop of the Artificial Intelligence Technical Network (AITN).  

The AITN seeks to achieve three primary objectives, closely aligned to the wider TN strategy:
  • Challenging and developing the understanding of AI, and the perceptions of human and technology interfacing, to boost confidence of this technology among businesses and society;
  • Increasing skills and knowledge base within the AI community (community building), including the diversity of people studying and working in AI;
  • Understand and promote progression and AI techniques from Industries experience to date.

Background and Opportunity

In November 2020, the UK government announced an increased spending £16.4b over four years, and also Defence has announced significant investment in AI / ML in its Integrated Review 2021. A major role for AI and Sensor laden hardware. In 2021, it is still prevalent that vast amounts of information and ‘big data’ are underutilised, and ultimately discarded. Dr Elise Tapping suggests that lessons learnt from the last twenty years within the public and private sectors shows that the limitations on inserting novel technology is not financial, but the unpicking of legacy technologies to implement or interface with new, faster and more efficient applications whilst the human operators are physically fatigued. It could be argued that this is exactly the same issue with AI and its integration, potential and future adoption.

As with most new areas, using advanced algorithmic techniques such as ‘deep learning’, AI has the potential to solve complex problems fast, and in so doing, free up time and raise productivity.

AI has the potential to benefit everyone in the UK, not just in its ‘own right’ but as a ‘partnered technology for us – the human’. The idea of AI should not be limited to the ‘Terminator’ paradigm or on megatrends such as ‘deepfakes’, but more towards brain wave passwords, robotic guide dogs, self-healing living-concrete, hybrid living cell-robots, tactile virtual reality (VR), synthetic biology, and ultimately the conscious computer. The applications for interaction with the human are excitingly huge, artificial neurons on silicon chips, self-driving vehicles, autonomous technology can learn from its environment and complete tasks without human input.
A revolution in AI technology is already emerging and this is already visible in future platform technologies. If we act now, the IET can encourage Engineers to lead it from the front. But if we ‘wait and see’ the advantage will be lost and we will be denied the knowledge to progress our dreams.

The IET AI Technical Network can pull together the Specialists, Engineers and next generations of ‘decision makers’ and we can make the UK a global leader in this technology that will change all our lives.     

You are welcome to comment and express interest in being involved in the AI Technical Network, please get in touch with your CV and covering letter.

Dr Elise Tapping – Inaugural chair
Andrea Lund – Staff
Blog IET Insights 14/04/2021 11:24am BST

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