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Institute for Ethics in AI

Oxford leading the way in AI ethics


Philosophers made a major contribution to the development of medical ethics forty years ago, and we are now at a tipping point where a similar ethical intervention is needed to cope with the questions raised by the rise of 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.

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 first phase priorities of the Institute:

  • Promoting “AI ethics” globally as a field comparable to medical ethics, and embedding AI ethics in research and teaching at Oxford 
  • Seminar series bringing together leaders in technology companies, governments and academia to discuss ethical issues in AI
  • Designing a dedicated space for the Institute within the Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities
  • A global search for an Institute Director and top academics

Over the next year we will begin recruiting for posts and seeking partners and collaborators.

Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Chair of the Steering Group of the Institute for AI Ethics, presented the initial plans for the Institute at the AI@Oxford Conference on 18th September 2019. In this video, he explains why it is so important to think about AI ethics.

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