Wolfson College Berlin Lecture 2021 - AI and Ethics: The Sense of Reality

berlin lecture
Join Professor John Tasioulas, Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt and Sir Tim Hitchens for the 2021 Berlin Lecture: "AI and Ethics: The Sense of Reality".


Launched in 1990 to celebrate the 80th birthday of the College's Founding President, Sir Isaiah Berlin, the Berlin Lecture is in his own field of study, the history of ideas. Each Trinity Term, we welcome speakers of the stature of Professor Amartya Sen, Professor Roy Foster, Professor Timothy Garton Ash, Michael Ignatieff and Baroness Helena Kennedy.

The Berlin lecture is made possible thanks to an endowment gift from the Rothschild Foundation. 



Discussion of AI and Ethics often focusses on the ethical challenges AI could pose when it develops the highest levels of sophistication. Those discussions can certainly be fascinating. But that can also lead to a level of abstraction which provides little help to those faced with dilemmas in the next decade. And ethics which emerge from data, and aspire to exactness, may not always be relevant to the human condition. Professors Tasioulas and Shadbolt, coming at the issues from the viewpoints of ethicist and technologist respectively, argue that Isaiah Berlin’s concept of the pluralism of values is important in navigating these waters. We should not try to iron out inconsistencies, but should instead build the idea of a number of competing values into our approach to the subject. The starting point for the discussion will be Isaiah Berlin’s 1953 lecture and essay “The Sense of Reality”.

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