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Embracing the future: using AI as a panellist in academic conferences

15 Feb 2024 | Juliette Morgan Reflecting on the innovative use of AI as a panellist at the most recent NETworking & Innovation in Healthcare Education Conference in Liverpool, Juliette Morgan, Senior Consultant at Advance HE, shares her thoughts on the potential for AI technology to shape the future of scholarly discourse.

AI and the use of cutting-edge technology is reshaping traditional academic practice, opening up new horizons for knowledge dissemination. One such innovation gaining traction is the use of AI to support conference delivery, particularly in academic panels at conferences and symposia. Imagine a scenario where alongside human experts, an AI counterpart actively contributes to discussions, offers insights and engages with attendees. This concept not only enriches the conference experience but prompts the exploration of the potential of AI in scholarly discourse. 

The rise of AI panellists 

AI technologies have ushered in new possibilities in academia. As conferences foster interdisciplinary dialogue and harness expertise, the inclusion of AI panellists emerges as a step towards helping to achieving these goals. By leveraging AI, the breadth and depth of discussions can be augmented, specialised knowledge domains can be explored and engagement with innovative perspectives is exposed. 

Creating your own AI panellist 

The process of incorporating AI as a panellist begins with the development of a bespoke AI 'bot' tailored to the conference theme and audience. Utilising user-friendly platforms to create an AI chatbot capable of engaging in meaningful conversations and providing insights on relevant topics is crucial in setting up this opportunity, and defining the expertise and persona of the AI panellist. Curating the content and training the bot to ensure it aligns with the conference objectives is all part of the process. 

Ethical considerations 

It is crucial to navigate ethical considerations associated with using AI panellists. Transparency, bias mitigation and responsible AI usage are paramount. Disclosure of the AI nature of the panellist to attendees is necessary; implementing measures to mitigate algorithmic bias, and fostering inclusive dialogue that respects diverse perspectives, is essential. 

Integration and collaboration 

Seamless integration between AI and human panellists is key to maximising the impact. Designing panel formats that facilitate dynamic interactions and complement the strengths of both AI and human participants is possible, and fostering collaboration and mutual respect among panellists can be achieved. It is essential to emphasise the value of diverse expertise and perspectives in advancing knowledge. 

User experience 

It is also crucial to prioritise the delegate and panellist experience by optimising the interface and interaction flow of the AI panellist. Soliciting feedback from delegates to enhance the AI's performance and usability stimulates growth and development going forward, making use of feedback and reflection for future development. 

Learning and adaptation 

Engaging in ongoing refinement and expansion of the AI knowledge base is important to stay abreast of emerging trends. Fostering a feedback loop between the AI 'bot' and its human colleagues will facilitate mutual learning and growth. 

Embracing AI 

The incorporation of AI as a panellist represents a bold exploration of the intersection between technology and scholarly discourse. By embracing this approach and navigating challenges, new dimensions of engagement and knowledge dissemination can be explored as we move further towards a connectivist approach with technology-enhanced learning tools and resources, as part of contemporary academic environments.


Juliette Morgan is a National Teaching Fellow and winner of the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence. With a clinical background in Allied Health, as a registered Speech and Language Therapist, she now has over 15 years of experience in higher education occupying a range of roles including Senior Lecturer/Clinical Placement Coordinator, Associate Professor (Education), Associate Dean and Dean (Student Experience, Teaching and Learning). 

Juliette’s current role is Senior Consultant (Student Success) at Advance HE, and she leads work in the mental health and wellbeing space. Her interests include student success, mental health and wellbeing, student enablement and leadership in higher education. 


Advance HE has a strong programme of conferences throughout the year for all engaged in HE, whether leaders, practitioners or Governors, supporting institutions at all levels. Attending an Advance HE conference gives you the opportunity to hear about the latest developments in policy and practice from global leaders, from both within and beyond the HE sector. Find out more about our Conferences here

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