Ethics in AI




The Institute for Ethics in AI will bring together world-leading philosophers and other experts in the humanities with the technical developers and users of AI in academia, business and government. The ethics and governance of AI is an exceptionally vibrant area of research at Oxford and the Institute is an opportunity to take a bold leap forward from this platform.



The Institute launched on 16th February 2021 with a virtual panel discussion introduced by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson. The panelists were Professor Joshua Cohen (Apple University), Professor Hélène Landemore (Yale University) and Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, all chaired by the Institute's Director, Professor John Tasioulas.


Every day brings more examples of the ethical challenges posed by AI; from face recognition to voter profiling, brain machine interfaces to weaponised drones, and the ongoing discourse about how AI will impact employment on a global scale. This is urgent and important work that we intend to promote internationally as well as embedding in our own research and teaching here at Oxford.



The presentations below set the scene for the planned Institute for Ethics in AI within the Faculty of Philosophy. Firstly from Sir Nigel Shadbolt, then by Carissa Véliz discussing the placement and followed by talks outlining relevant research at four major existing centres and institutes within Oxford.


Background and Aims of the Institute for Ethics in AI’ (Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Principal of Jesus College, Department of Computer Science)

The place of philosophy in the Ethics of AI’, Carissa Véliz

Research on Ethics and AI at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Tom Douglas

Research on Ethics and AI at the Oxford Internet Institute, Vicki Nash

Research on Ethics and AI at the Big Data Institute, Gil McVean

Research on Ethics and AI at the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, Mike Parker


Events and Podcasts

A large range of topics fall within the area of interest for the Institute for Ethics in AI. These include, but are not limited to, bias and discrimination in algorithmic decision-making, how AI bears on the value of human autonomy, the right to a human decision, the nature and value of human-robot relationships, AI applications in health care, the moral status of AI, the place of work in human life and the implications of AI for the workplace, and the ways in which AI and digital technology pose threats to, but also offer opportunities for, democratic governance.


The Institute will bring together academics and their expertise in all areas of Ethics in AI with regular podcasts, seminars and events. The events page is regularly updated to show our scheduled events. To receive alerts for the upcoming live events, you can subscribe to the Institute for Ethics in AI YouTube channel.




General enquiries can be sent to


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Debate with Us

The Ethics in AI Seminar series brings together experts from a wide range of academic disciplines at Oxford to discuss the ethical challenges posed by AI. 

The first three Ethics in AI Seminars were held in late 2019 and early 2020, attracting more than 350 students and academics from more than 30 academic departments. The seminars are convened by Peter Millican, Professor of Philosophy at Oxford, who describes their background and role as follows:



Over the last decade, concerns about the power and danger of Artificial Intelligence have moved from the fantasy of ‘Terminator’ to reality, and anxieties about killer robots have been joined by many others that are more immediate. Robotic systems threaten a massive disruption of employment and transport, while algorithms fuelled by machine learning on (potentially biased) ‘big data’ increasingly play a role in life-changing decisions, whether financial, legal, or medical. More subtly, AI combines with social media to give huge potential for the manipulation of opinion and behaviour, whether to sell a product, influence financial markets, provoke divisive factionalism, or fix an election. All of this has raised huge ethical questions, some fairly familiar (e.g. concerning privacy, information security, appropriate rules of automated behaviour) but many quite new (e.g. concerning algorithmic bias, transparency, and wider impacts). 

Oxford has a wealth of researchers in relevant fields, scattered through numerous University departments – including Philosophy, Computer Science, Engineering, Social Science, and Medicine – and also a wide range of specialist ‘centres’ and ‘institutes’. But hitherto, this rich number and variety of researchers has tended to lack any integrating focus, with those in one part of the University sometimes unaware of those elsewhere, even while working in closely cognate areas. It is against this background that Oxford is creating an Institute for AI Ethics, to promote broad conversation between relevant researchers and students across the entire University, and thus to generate a coherent powerhouse of AI Ethics which will be more than the sum of its (already impressive) parts. These seminars are the first formal activities of this new initiative, but we envisage them as an ongoing part of it, inspiring and nurturing interdisciplinary discussion and collaboration into the future.

Engage with Us

Our academic team is busy producing new research and forging academic and industry collaborations, tackling the big topics in AI.

Join us during our virtual events, by posting your comments and questions to the panel. All our upcoming events are on the events page. Any events you miss can be viewed from our past events page.


Contact us by emailing


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Upcoming Events

The live events listed below will be hosted on the Institute for Ethics in AI YouTube channel. Please subscribe to receive alerts for upcoming live events. 

Past Events

Ethics in AI Events

The recordings of all our events are stored on this page for anyone to view at your leisure.

Other AI Events

You may also be interested in viewing these recordings from other AI Events.



Recent publications by the Institute for Ethics in AI academic team are:



General enquiries can be sent to


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Follow the Institute for Ethics in AI on Twitter