AI and Digital Ethics

ai and ethics

Data is increasingly fueling the economy, politics, and everyday life. Our financial transactions, movements, communications, relationships, and interactions with governments and businesses all generate data that is being collected, stored, sold, bought, and acquired through other means by data brokers, governments, and corporations interested in profiling individuals. As data sets grow to become Big Data, and as artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated in collecting and analysing data, the opportunities ahead seem infinite. From climate science to healthcare and policing, AI could significantly enhance our problem-solving capacities. The risks, however, are also great, as the information being handled about individuals is sometimes extremely sensitive. Governments and companies need to address a number of ethical questions and find methods to capitalise on information while designing best practices in order to respect people's privacy and maintain their trust. 

Dr Hannah Maslen and Dr Carissa Véliz are currently working on ethical issues revolving around the development of AI, and the collection and management of data.


Maslen, H. & Savulescu, J. (forthcoming), 'The Ethics of Virtual Reality and Teleprescence’, in Tony Prescott, Nathan Lepora and Paul Verschure (eds.), Living Machines: A Handbook of Research in Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems, Oxford University Press. 

Giubilini, A. and Savulescu, J., (2018), 'The artificial moral advisor: The 'ideal observer' meets artificial intelligence', Philosophy and Technology, Vol: 31(2): 169–188 [Open Access PMC6004274]

Savulescu, J. & Maslen, H. (2014), ‘Moral Artificial Intelligence: Moral AI?’, in Jan Romportl, Eva Zackova, Jozef Kelemen (eds.) Beyond Artificial Intelligence: The Disappearing Human-Machine Divide, Springer.

Hazem Zohny, Julian Savulescu, 19 April 2018, Ethical AI Kills Too: An Assessment of the Lords report on AI in the UK (Oxford Martin School Online News)

Carissa Véliz, 29 January 2018, Al Jazeera Media ViewInterviewed in connection with privacy issues relating to Strava (fitness tracking app) after discovery of a major flaw in its global heatmap.  Highly sensitive data, location etc, collected on military personnel was found to be very easy to de-anonymize

Rainey, S., (2018), 'Artificial Intelligence, the Singularity, and the Future', Panel Discussion,  Philosophy Now Festival 2018 (20 January). 

Carissa Véliz, 7 January 2018, '¿Confiar tus desnudos a Facebook?', [would you trust Facebook with nude photos?]

Jonathan Pugh, June 16, 2017, Using AI to Predict Criminal Offending: What Makes it ‘Accurate’, and What Makes it ‘Ethical’

Carissa Véliz, 11 January 2017, Why you might want to think twice about surrendering online privacy for the sake of convenience

Carissa Véliz,14 April 2016, The Challenge of Determining Whether an A.I. Is Sentient

Carissa Véliz, 30 January 2016 (with Julia Powles), How Europe is fighting to change tech companies' 'wrecking ball' ethics

Hannah Maslen, October 28, 2015, Virtually reality? The value of virtual activities and remote interaction 

Carissa Véliz, 2 June 2015, What to do with Google—nothing, break it up, nationalise it, turn it into a public utility, treat it as a public space, or something else?

Carissa Véliz,15 April 2015, Should airline pilots have less medical privacy?

Carissa Véliz, 2 February 2015, Facebook’s new Terms of Service: Choosing between your privacy and your relationships

Hannah Maslen, 16 May 2014, On the ‘right to be forgotten’

Hannah Maslen, 26 March 2014, Computer vision and emotional privacy

Hannah Maslen, 12 April 2013, Strict-ish liability? An experiment in the law as algorithm

Hannah Maslen, 15 March 2013, A reply to ‘Facebook: You are your ‘Likes”

The Practical Ethics Video Series makes the most important and complex debates in practical ethics accessible to a wide audience through brief interviews with high profile philosophers in Oxford.  Video interviews on this and other topics can be found on our YouTube channel.

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