The annual scientific communications conference, SCI:COM, took place this week in the Aviva Stadium. This year’s conference included immersive inspiring talks, with keynote speaker Richer Sadler (Psychotherapist and Author), workshops, and discussions that explored how we represent science, scientists and our communities to the outside world. Featuring this year were speakers Alex de Koning, Just Stop Oil, on civil disobedience and disruption as means of science communication, Fiona Fox, Science Media Centre (SMC) in London, discussing SMC’s work in connecting media with academia for more evidence-based reporting, and a panel discussion on biodiversity in Ireland. The conference also presents an excellent networking opportunity to meet colleagues and exchange conversation and ideas.
ADAPT academic Prof. Marguerite Barry (University College Dublin) featured on the panel “Do our audiences really understand what’s going on with AI” along with Dr. Cian Hughes (Google Health), and Claire Carroll (Responsible AI Consultant), chaired by Jonathon McCrae. The panel explored how we should be communicating artificial intelligence in today’s world with a focus on how scientific communications can write about AI in a way that is useful for the general public and industry.
In the realm of AI and Health, Dr. Cian Hughes discussed the importance of not seeing AI systems as a tool to replace medical professionals but highlighted that medical professionals who use appropriately tested recommender systems could be more efficient than doctors that do not. The panel also raised the importance of building collective trust when communicating with the public on the topic of Generative AI and LLMs. Prof. Barry discussed the potential need to move away from current imagery of AI and Dr. Hughes suggested the use of images focussed on data centres or microchips to ground AI in reality for the general public. Finally, the panel discussed the importance of ensuring AI is communicated fairly among different groups and highlighted the need to involve various groups in the design process to encourage more inclusive and responsible AI usage.
ADAPT was also well represented across the poster session with two poster submissions from ADAPT Trinity College Dublin researchers. Dr. Sinead Impey, researcher on the Precision ALS project, presented the poster titled, “We need to talk about AI: How Citizens’ Think-Ins facilitate Citizen-Researcher Dialogue”. The poster evaluates the use of Citizen Think-Ins in enabling citizens and researchers to explore the opportunities, challenges and benefits of emerging STEM innovations through a lens of ethics, trust and privacy. Sam O’Connor Russell, PhD researcher, also presented his poster “Do we hyperarticulate on Zoom?” which analyses hyperspeech features.
Additional breakout sessions at the conference raised the importance of increasing inclusivity in scientific communications, communicating ehealth research, and an interactive childhood development initiative.
To learn more about SCI:COM visit their website here: https://www.scicom.ie/