Ethics in AI Seminar: Can we be good people online? A conversation on the (im)possibility of democratic virtues in the digital world

Text reads: Can we be good people online? A conversation on the (im)possibility of democratic virtues in the digital world.

Ethics in AI Seminar - presented by the Institute for Ethics in AI 


Live Event: Tuesday 18 May 2021, 5pm



Moderated by Dr Lani Watson

The Oxford Character Project and Institute for Ethics in AI will hold a panel with Shannon Vallor, Ewa Luger and Oliver Escobar from the Edinburgh Futures Institute. The panel will explore how and whether democratic virtues can be developed and exercised in the online world.

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Dr Oliver Escobar is Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at the University of Edinburgh and Academic Lead on Democratic Innovation at the Edinburgh Futures Institute. He is co-investigator in the projects European Smart Urban Intermediaries and Distant Voices, and a former director of What Works Scotland. Oliver works on participatory and deliberative democracy, with a focus on political inequalities and the governance of the future. He combines research and practice to develop social and democratic innovations across various policy and community contexts. Oliver’s work has been shared in fifty publications, including the Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance, and forty training courses for students and professionals across the public sector and civil society. Before academia, Oliver worked in literature, radio, retail, fishing and construction.  

Twitter: @OliverEscobar

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Ewa Luger is Chancellor’s Fellow in Digital Arts and Humanities (University of Edinburgh), Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute and Acting Director of Research at Edinburgh Futures Institute.  She is Co-investigator on the following projects; PETRAS National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity where she leads on ‘usable and useful security’, the Human Data Interaction Network Plus, INTUIT, and Resilience in the New Real (AHRC), all of which explore the relationship between humans and data.  She is also Principal investigator for ICE-AI, a project exploring the use of algorithmic intelligibility and use within public service media and journalism. Ewa has worked as a researcher in academia, industry and the third sector. Her work investigates sociotechnical and ethical issues arising from machine intelligence and data-driven systems, with a focus on Human-Computer Interaction, User Experience and Public Policy. 


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Shannon Vallor is the Baillie Gifford Chair in the Ethics of Data and Artificial Intelligence and Director of the Centre for Technomoral Futures in the Edinburgh Futures Institute at the University of Edinburgh, where she is also appointed as Professor in the Department of Philosophy. Professor Vallor's research explores how emerging technologies reshape human moral and intellectual character, and maps the ethical challenges and opportunities posed by new uses of data and artificial intelligence. Her work includes advising academia, government and industry on the ethical design and use of AI, and she is a former Visiting Researcher and AI Ethicist at Google. She is the author of Technology and the Virtues: A Philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting (Oxford University Press, 2016) and editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Technology. She is the recipient of multiple awards for teaching, scholarship and public engagement, including the 2015 World Technology Award in Ethics.

Find out more about the full Institute for Ethics in AI programme here.