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Knowledge Institute Podcasts

  • AI Interrogator: AI’s Data Dilemma with Timandra Harkness

    January 08, 2024


  • Transparency in AI systems is crucial, both in terms of their operations and the biases they may contain. Transparency is seen as a critical factor in building trust and allowing individuals to assess the overall level of trustworthiness in AI applications.
  • Privacy concerns and potential misuse of data are highlighted through examples like Strava's cycling data and the New York City Taxi Data Set. There is a need for responsible data usage, considering the ethical implications and potential consequences for individuals if their data is repurposed without consent.

About Timandra Harkness

Timandra Harkness

Timandra Harkness is a writer, broadcaster, and presenter.

Timandra is a regular on BBC Radio, writing and presenting BBC Radio 4’s FutureProofing and other series including How To Disagree, Steelmanning and Political School. BBC Radio documentaries include Data, Data Everywhere, Divided Nation, What Has Sat-Nav Done To Our Brains, and Five Knots. She was resident reporter on all 8 seasons of social psychology series The Human Zoo and is now the spare presenter for Radio 4’s Profile.

Since winning the Independent newspaper's column-writing competition, she has written for many publications including the Telegraph, Guardian, Sunday Times, Unherd, BBC Focus magazine, WIRED, Unherd, the New Statesman, Men's Health, and Significance (the journal of the Royal Statistical Society).

Timandra chairs and speaks at public events for clients including Cheltenham Science Festival, the Royal Society, the British Council, the Royal Geographical Society, the RSA, the Institute of Ideas, the British Library, Wellcome Collection, the Alan Turing Institute, the Royal Academy of Engineering, and many others.

Her book Big Data: Does Size Matter? published by Bloomsbury Sigma in 2016, came out in an updated paperback edition in June 2017. Her second non-fiction book will be published by Harper Collins in May 2024.

After performing improvised & standup comedy, & touring with a tented circus, she formed the first comedy science double-act in the UK with neuroscientist Dr. Helen Pilcher. Since then, she has written and performed scientific and mathematical comedy from Adelaide (Australia) to Pittsburgh PA.

In 2010 she co-wrote & performed Your Days Are Numbered: The Maths of Death, with stand-up mathematician Matt Parker. They performed the show to average audiences of 100.3 and 4 star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe, then toured it in the UK and Australia. Timandra's science comedy since then includes cabaret, gameshows, and solo live show Brainsex (with Socrates the rat).

Timandra has a BA in Film and Drama with Art & Art History, a BSc in Mathematics & Statistics, and an MA in Philosophy from Birkbeck College. She is a Graduate Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, and, from January 2024, an elected member of RSS Council.