Beyond online safety: AI, web3, and the Metaverse

What is the future of online safety?

The Online Safety Bill gives social media companies a duty of care towards their users as a means of mitigating the wide range of harms their business activities appear to produce.

But even as the Bill is making its way through Parliament, the technology landscape continues to evolve. With advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), increasing adoption of web3 technologies like blockchain, and big tech investing billions in building the all-encompassing virtual world known as the metaverse, this Intellectual Forum panel event asked: how should policymakers respond?

This panel discussion on 20 March considered emerging forms of technology, the unintended online harms they might produce, and what can be done to mitigate them.

Guest speakers:

  • Prof Diane Coyle, Bennett Professor of Public Policy & Co-Director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy
  • Sam Gilbert, Affiliated Researcher at Bennett Institute for Public Policy
  • Alison Kilburn, Director of Analysis, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport


  • Dr Julian Huppert, Director of the Intellectual Forum at Jesus College Cambridge

More about the speakers:

Prof Diane Coyle

Professor Diane Coyle is the Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge. She co-directs the Bennett Institute where she heads research under the themes of progress and productivity. Diane is also a Director of the Productivity Institute, a Fellow of the Office for National Statistics, an expert adviser to the National Infrastructure Commission, and Senior Independent Member of the ESRC Council.

Sam Gilbert

Sam Gilbert is an entrepreneur and an Affiliated Researcher at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, working at the intersection of politics and technology. He is the author of the book, “Good Data” and recent policy briefs on The Online Safety Bill, and Crypto, Web3 and the Metaverse. He holds an MPhil with distinction in International Relations and Politics from the University of Cambridge, and a BA with first class honours in Modern History and English from the University of Oxford.

Alison Kilburn

Alison Kilburn joined the UK government’s DCMS in August 2021 in the newly created role of Director of Analysis. She is a professional economist and an experienced leader of analysts, having spent the past decade as a senior civil servant leading multi-disciplinary analyst teams. She joined DCMS from BEIS, where she was Acting Director of Analysis and has also worked in HM Treasury and Cabinet Office.

This Cambridge Festival event was cohosted by the Bennett Institute for Public Policy and the Intellectual Forum at Jesus College, Cambridge.

A recording of the talk is available on our College YouTube channel.