Announcements

2022 Uehiro Lectures : Ethics and AI, Peter Railton. In Person and Hybrid

Ethics and Artificial Intelligence
Professor Peter Railton, University of Michigan

May 9, 16, and 23 (In person and hybrid. booking links below)

Abstract: Recent, dramatic advancement in the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) raise a host of ethical questions about the development and deployment of AI systems.  Some of these are questions long recognized as of fundamental moral concern, and which may occur in particularly acute forms with AI—matters of distributive justice, discrimination, social control, political manipulation, the conduct of warfare, personal privacy, and the concentration of economic power.  Other questions, however, concern issues that are more specific to the distinctive kind of technological change AI represents.  For example, how to contend with the possibility that artificial agents might emerge with capabilities that go beyond human comprehension or control?  But whether or when the threat of such “superintelligence” becomes realistic, we are now facing a situation in which partially-intelligent AI systems are increasingly being deployed in roles that involve relatively autonomous decision-making that carries real risk of harm.  This urgently raises the question of how such partially-intelligent systems could become appropriately sensitive to moral considerations.

In these lectures I will attempt to take some first steps in answering that question, which often is put in terms of “programming ethics into AI”.  However, we don’t have an “ethical algorithm” that could be programmed into AI systems, and that would enable them to respond aptly to an open-ended array of situations where moral issues are stake.  Moreover, the current revolution in AI has provided ample evidence that system designs based upon the learning of complex representational structures and generative capacities have acquired higher levels of competence, situational sensitivity, and creativity in problem-solving than systems based upon pre-programmed expertise.  Might a learning-based approach to AI be extended to the competence needed to identify and respond appropriately to moral dimensions of situations?

I will begin by outlining a framework for understanding what “moral learning” might be, seeking compatibility with a range of conceptions of the normative content of morality.  I then will draw upon research on human cognitive and social development—research that itself is undergoing a “learning revolution”—to suggest how this research enables us to see at work components central to moral learning, and to ask what conditions are favorable to the development and working of these components.  The question then becomes whether artificial systems might be capable of similar cognitive and social development, and what conditions would be favorable to this.  Might the same learning-based approaches that have achieved such success in strategic game-playing, image identification and generation, and language recognition and translation also achieve success in cooperative game-playing, identifying moral issues in situations, and communicating and collaborating effectively on apt responses?  How far might such learning go, and what could this tell us about how we might engage with AI systems to foster their moral development, and perhaps ours as well?

Bio: Peter Railton is the Kavka Distinguished University Professor and Perrin Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan.  His research has included ethics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and political philosophy, and recently he has been engaged in joint projects with researchers in psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience.  Among his writings are Facts, Values, and Norms (Cambridge University Press, 2003) and Homo Prospectus (joint with Martin Seligman, Roy Baumeister, and Chandra Sripada, Oxford University Press, 2016).  He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters, has served as President of the American Philosophical Society (Central Division), and has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  He has been a visiting faculty member at Princeton and UC-Berkeley, and in the UK has given the John Locke Lectures while a visiting fellow at All Souls, Oxford.

BOOKING

Lecture 1.

Date: Monday 9 May 2022, 5.00 – 7.00 pm, followed by a drinks reception (for all)
Venue: Mathematical Institute (LT1), Andrew Wiles Building, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6GG.

Booking:
In person: https://bookwhen.com/uehiro/e/ev-sa7t-20220509170000
Online: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_rpRsyHMGQxikOv3zAipB7g

Lecture 2.

Date: Monday 16 May 2022, 5.00 – 7.00 pm. Jointly organised with Oxford’s Moral Philosophy Seminars
Venue: Mathematical Institute (LT1), Andrew Wiles Building, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6GG.

Booking:
In person: https://bookwhen.com/uehiro/e/ev-sbqs-20220516170000
Online: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_wKCT6UQ5SjGLiQ9pfsUDdQ

 Lecture 3.

Date: Monday 23 May 2022, 5.00 – 7.00 pm
Venue: Mathematical Institute (LT1), Andrew Wiles Building, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6GG.

Booking:
In person: https://bookwhen.com/uehiro/e/ev-sdu1-20220523170000
Online: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_9in8lRyITU6KJQX4sxotzg

Announcement: Philosophy and Psychiatry Summer School, 15 – 15 July 2022

The Philosophy and Psychiatry Summer School returns this year, 14-15 July, at St Hilda’s College Oxford.

 Registrations now open and the deadline for the early bird rate is 14th April.

Keynote speaker: Essi Viding (Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London)

Summer School Sessions run by:

  • Khaldoon Ahmed (East London NHS Foundation Trust) with Susan Young (Royal College of Art) and Laurie Dahl (South West London St George’s NHS Trust)
  • Kamaldeep Bhui (Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford) and Neil Armstrong (Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford)
  • Caroline Green (NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce, King’s College London) and Palvi Dodhia (Serene Care)
  • Jonathan Pugh (Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford) and Camillia Kong (Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford)
  • Mohammed Rashed (Department of Philosophy, Birkbeck, University of London) and Kai Syng Tan (Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University)
  • Frank Rohricht (Wolfson Institute of Population Health, Queen Mary University of London and East London NHS Foundation Trust) and Lambros Malafouris (School of Archaeology, University of Oxford)

More info and registration

Announcing the Winners and Runners Up in the 8th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics

Please join us in congratulating all four of the finalists in the National Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics 2022, and in particular our winners, Matthew Price and Lily Moore-Eissenberg.

This, the 8th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics was, for the first time, held as a National competition. From 5:30pm on the 15th March, in the lecture theatre of the Faculty of Philosophy, as well as online, the four finalists presented their papers and ideas to an audience and responded to a short Q&A as the final round in the competition. Over the coming weeks a selection of the winning essays and honourable mentions will be published on this blog.

Undergraduate Category

Winner: Matthew Price – Why We Should Negatively Discount the Well-Being of Future Generations

Runner Up: Leo Rogers – Terra nullius, populus sine terra: who may settle Antarctica?

Honourable Mentions: Lukas Joosten – When Money Can’t Buy Happiness: Does Our Duty to Assist the Needy Require Us to Befriend the Lonely?

Alexander Scoby – Why don’t we just let the wise rule?!

 

Graduate Category

Winner: Lily Moore-Eissenberg – Legal Proof and Structural Injustice: Should jurors be given information about structural racism?

Runner Up: Avital Fried – Statistical Evidence and the Criminal Verdict Asymmetry

Honourable Mentions: Lise du Buisson – How should career choice ethics address ignorance-related harms?

Kabir Singh Bakshi – Against Broome’s ‘Against Denialism’

Seminar Recordings: The Neuroscience of a Life Well-Lived

Audio and Video recordings of Professor Morten L. Kringlebach (Aarhus University, Denmark; University of Oxford) online St Cross Seminar (21 January 2021) are now available.

Continue reading

Seminar Recordings: Towards a Plasticity of the Mind – New-ish Ethical Conundrums in Dementia Care, Treatment, and Research

Audio and video recordings of David Lyreskog’s online St Cross Seminar (25 February 2021) are now available.

Continue reading

Announcement: Finalists of the 7th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics and Final Presentation

ouc prize logo

Please join us in congratulating all of the finalists in the 7th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics.

The 7th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics Final Presentation

 

HT21 Week 8, Wednesday 10th March, 5pm – 6:30 pm.

The Presentation will be held via zoom webinar, the registration details of which are below. Continue reading

Reminder: 7th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics – Entries Due By Tuesday 9th February

A reminder that the closing date for entries to the 7th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics is fast approaching. Graduate and undergraduate students currently enrolled at the University of Oxford in any subject are invited to enter the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics by submitting an essay of up to 2000 words on any topic relevant to practical ethics.  Eligibility includes visiting students who are registered as recognized students, and paying fees, but does not include informal visitors.  Two undergraduate papers and two graduate papers will be shortlisted from those submitted to go forward to an online public presentation and discussion, where the winner of each category will be selected.

The winner from each category will receive £300, and the runner up £100. Revised versions of the two winning essays will be considered for publication in the Journal of Practical Ethics, though publication is not guaranteed.

To enter, please submit your written papers by the end of Tuesday 9th February 2021 to rocci.wilkinson@philosophy.ox.ac.uk. Finalists will be notified on Tuesday 23rd February of selection. The online public presentation will take place in 8th Week, Hilary term 2021, on Wednesday 10th March, from 5pm. Please save this presentation date, as you will need to attend if selected as a finalist.  Continue reading

Announcement: 7th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics

Graduate and undergraduate students currently enrolled at the University of Oxford in any subject are invited to enter the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics by submitting an essay of up to 2000 words on any topic relevant to practical ethics.  Eligibility includes visiting students who are registered as recognized students, and paying fees, but does not include informal visitors.  Two undergraduate papers and two graduate papers will be shortlisted from those submitted to go forward to an online public presentation and discussion, where the winner of each category will be selected.

The winner from each category will receive £300, and the runner up £100. Revised versions of the two winning essays will be considered for publication in the Journal of Practical Ethics, though publication is not guaranteed.

To enter, please submit your written papers by the end of Tuesday 9th February 2021 to rocci.wilkinson@philosophy.ox.ac.uk. Finalists will be notified on Tuesday 23rd February of selection. The online public presentation will take place in 8th Week, Hilary term 2021, on Wednesday 10th March, from 5pm. Please save this presentation date, as you will need to attend if selected as a finalist.  Continue reading

Announcement: Online Short Courses Open. Philosophy, Psychiatry and Mental Health, and Neuroethics

Applications are open to join our two June short courses on the ethics and philosophy of neuroscience, psychiatry, and mental health which will be run online this year.

For details and how to apply:

 

Congratulations to our Winners and Runners up in the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics 2020

ouc prize logo

Please join us in congratulating all of the finalists in this unique final for the Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics, and in particular our winners, Eric Sheng and Maya Krishnan.

In an Oxford Uehiro Centre first the 6th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics was held as a Zoom webinar event. The Finalists in each category presented their ideas to an online audience and responded to a short Q&A as the final round in the competition. Over the coming weeks a selection of the winning essays will be published on this blog.

When: Mar 19, 2020 05:30 PM London

Topic: 6th Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics

Undergraduate Category

Winner: Eric Sheng: Why is virtual wrongdoing morally disquieting, insofar as it is?

Runner UpToby S. Lowther: Can science ethically make use of data which was gathered by unethical means?

Graduate Category

Winner: Maya Krishnan: Can it be wrong for victims to report crimes?

Runner Up: Matthew John Minehan: Post-Sally and the minimally conscious mollusc

Honourable Mentions:

Angelo Ryu: What, if anything, is wrong about algorithmic administration? (Undergraduate)

Brian Wong: An account of attitudinal duties towards injustice (Graduate)

Tess Johnson: Enhancing the Critique: What’s wrong with the collectivist critique and what can the relational approach contribute? (Graduate)

Tena Thau: Effective Altruism and Intersectional Feminism (Graduate)

Authors

Affiliations