RSS Conference preview: Evaluating AI, machine learning, and data visualisation

Heading to RSS Conference in Harrogate this September? Here’s a selection of sessions to add to your schedule.

Machine learning
Data visualisation

Brian Tarran


August 24, 2023

The Royal Statistical Society International Conference takes place in Harrogate, England, this September (Monday 4 to Thursday 7). Real World Data Science will be in attendance, and we’ve helped organise a couple of sessions we’d like to tell you about.

Evaluating AI: How data science and statistics can shape the UK’s AI strategy

Date: 6 September Time: 9:00 am - 10:20 am Room: Auditorium (moved from Queens Suite 8)

The launch of ChatGPT less than a year ago is a milestone moment in the story of artificial intelligence. Overnight, large language models were transformed from research projects into consumer products, now used by millions each month. The capabilities are impressive, the productivity gains undeniable. But, what of the downsides? These are issues societies, governments, and individuals are now starting to reckon with.

In March 2023, the UK government published a white paper promising a “pro-innovation approach” to AI regulation, while also acknowledging the risks AI poses to “people’s privacy, their human rights or their safety” and “concerns about the fairness of using AI tools to make decisions which impact people’s lives”. The Royal Statistical Society, in response, has called for investment in a centre for AI evaluation methodology, arguing that users of AI systems should be able to judge the trustworthiness of claims made by AI companies as well as the outputs of their systems.

What should AI evaluation look like? How will it work in practice? What metrics are most important, and – crucially – who gets to decide this? Join us for a special panel debate at the RSS International Conference, where these questions, and more, will be discussed.

Best Practices for Data Visualisation: How to make data outputs more readable, accessible, and impactful

Date: 5 September Time: 11:40 am - 1:00 pm Room: Auditorium

The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) has published a new guide, “Best Practices for Data Visualisation”, containing insights, advice, and examples (with code) to make data outputs more readable, accessible, and impactful. The guide is written primarily for contributors to Royal Statistical Society publications – including Significance magazine, the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, and Real World Data Science – but the information and advice within is also of broad relevance and use for any data visualisation task.

In the first half of this conference session, authors Andreas Krause, Nicola Rennie, and Brian Tarran will introduce the guide and its key recommendations, and there will be a short demo of how to use the new {RSSthemes} R package. For the second half of the session, attendees will be invited to share feedback with the authors, propose ideas, and start developing new and expanded sections of the guide. Attendees will be shown how to work with the guide’s source files and collaborate via GitHub, so feel free to bring along a laptop and become a contributor!

For more information, see and the RSS Conference website.

Discussion Meeting: Probabilistic and statistical aspects of machine learning

Date: 6 September Time: 5:00pm - 7:00 pm Room: Auditorium

We haven’t helped organise this session, but we are interested to see it. Two papers will be presented for discussion and debate. Paper 1 is “Automatic Change-Point Detection in Time Series via Deep Learning” by Jie Li, Paul Fearnhead, Piotr Fryzlewicz, and Tengyao Wang, while Paper 2 is “From Denoising Diffusions to Denoising Markov Models” by Joe Benton, Yuyang Shi, Valentin De Bortoli, George Deligiannidis, and Arnaud Doucet. Preprints of both papers are available now via the RSS Discussion Meetings webpage, and you can also hear more about the session in this interview with Adam Sykulski, RSS Discussion Papers editor.

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Copyright and licence
© 2023 Royal Statistical Society

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC BY 4.0) International licence. Thumbnail image by jcw1967, licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) licence.

How to cite
Tarran, Brian. 2023. “RSS Conference preview: Evaluating AI, machine learning, and data visualisation.” Real World Data Science, August 24, 2023. URL