Ethics in AI Seminar

ethics ai

A discussion of ethical challenges posed by AI involving experts from fields across Oxford. Open to students & staff at the University.

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 raises 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). It is in this context that Oxford is creating an Institute for AI Ethics, to open up a broad conversation between the University’s researchers and students in the many related disciplines, including Philosophy, Computer Science, Engineering, Social Science, and Medicine (amongst others).

The Ethics in AI seminars are intended to facilitate this broad conversation, exploring ethical questions in AI in a truly interdisciplinary way that brings together students and leading experts from around the University. Initially, a major aim will be to familiarise participants with the landscape of Oxford research, building links and encouraging new connections. Hence early seminars will cover a range of topics with a variety of speakers from different centres, and will, we hope, attract a wide audience from across the University. Later seminars will often be more specialist, focused on a particular area or topic. But importantly, all of the seminars will be followed by a social period with refreshments, to facilitate cross-disciplinary conversation and collaboration.

Topics to be discussed at this seminar will include:

1. AI Governance and Ethics (Allan Dafoe and Carina Prunkl, Future of Humanity Institute, Faculty of Philosophy)

2. AI, Industry and Employment (Carl Frey, Oxford Martin School and Gina Neff, Oxford Internet Institute)

3. AI, Propaganda and Biased Reporting (Vidya Narayanan, Oxford Internet Institute and Rasmus Nielsen, Politics and Reuters Institute)

All staff and students are welcome, whatever their field.

The seminar will be chaired by Peter Millican, Professor of Philosophy and host of the University’s Futuremakers podcast (whose 2018-19 series focused on AI).

All staff and students are welcome, whatever their field. The seminar will take place in the Weston Library Lecture Theatre and be followed by a drinks reception in the Blackwell Hall at 5.45pm. The event is free but please book via the following Eventbrite link to secure a place: