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In this seminar, Professor Bryson will take a scientific look at the cultural phenomena behind the #tags many people associate with AI ethics and regulation. Professor Bryson will introduce the concept of public goods, show how these relate to sustainability, and then provide a quick review of three recent results concerning:

  • what trust is, where it comes from, what it's for, and how AI might alter it;
  • where bias in language comes from, what it's for, and whether AI might and should be used to alter it;
  • where polarisation comes from, what it was for historically, and how we should deal with it in the present day (guess what, AI also has a role here, but not the one people think).


Joanna J. Bryson is Professor of Ethics and Technology at the Hertie School (Germany). She is an academic recognised for broad expertise on intelligence, its nature and its consequences. Her PhD contribution was a development methodology for the systems engineering of human-like AI, a skill she uses primarily for scientific simulations of natural intelligence. She advises governments, transnational agencies, corporations, and NGOs globally, particularly in AI policy.

Professor Bryson undertook her undergraduate studies in Behavioural Science at the University of Chicago, and completed an MSc in Artificial Intelligence and an MPhil in Psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She then moved to MIT to complete her PhD. From 2002 to 2019, she worked in the Computer Science faculty at the University of Bath. Professor Bryson has also been affiliated with Harvard Psychology, Oxford Anthropology, Mannheim Centre for Social Science Research, The Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research, and most recently the Princeton Center for Information Technology Policy.

During her PhD, Professor Bryson observed confusion generated by anthropomorphised AI, leading to her first AI ethics publication, “Just Another Artifact” in 1998. In 2010 she co-authored the first national level AI ethics policy, the UK's Principles of Robotics. Professor Bryson's present research interests revolve around the impact of technology on human cooperation, and AI/ICT governance. In July 2020, Germany appointed her as one of their nine experts to the Global Partnership for AI.

How to join

The seminar can be joined through Microsoft Teams - either through the Teams app or your web browser.

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