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Smith & Williamson's AI specialist appears at Bristol Technology showcase

  • Written By: Chris Ford
  • Published: Wed, 04 Dec 2019 12:28 GMT

Far more thought needs to be given to ethical considerations by businesses looking to adopt Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, according to Smith & Williamson’s Chris Ford.

Chris was part of an expert panel discussing AI and ethics at the recent Bristol Technology Showcase, held at Aerospace Bristol in Filton, which was sponsored by Smith & Williamson.

He was joined on the panel by John Buyers, a partner at international legal practice Osborne Clarke, Zara Nanu, CEO at Gapsquare, and Eamonn O’Neill, professor of computer science at the University of Bath.

Chris, a partner at Smith & Williamson who manages the firm’s Artificial Intelligence long-term equity investment fund, told the panel there was a “critical deficit” among businesses when it came to the adoption of AI.

“The pace of the debate is not keeping up with the rate of deployment,” he said.

“There is very little discussion of ethics and critical analysis within organisations and a fear of missing out among management teams, an attitude that says ‘deploy first and ask questions later.’”

Smith & Williamson’s corporate finance team has advised on a raft of major deals in the technology sector in recent months.

These include:

  • the sale of RAP International, which specialises in risk assessment software used by many of the world’s blue-chip oil and gas companies, to Yokogawa Electric Corporation
  • the £5.5m sale of online intelligence company ResponseSource to Access Intelligence plc
  • cyber security software firm CybSafe’s £3.5 million fundraising
  • the Management Buy Out at Bristol-based software development company Sparkol, which specialises in explainer video programs for desktop and web applications

Helen Bassett, director and head of the technology initiative team at Smith & Williamson in Bristol, said: “We work with a wide range of clients in the technology sector, from high growth early stage business to mature corporates.

“These clients look to us to provide support in areas ranging from accountancy, assurance and tax advice to transaction support, exit planning and personal wealth management.

“We already work across the local tech eco system with organisations such as TechSpark, Future Space and Bristol and Bath Science Park, so becoming a gold sponsor of Bristol Tech Showcase was a logical step for us.”

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