Bias, Trust, and Doing Good: Scientific Explorations of Topics in AI Ethics



For our third AI and Law Series talk of the university year, Professor Joanna J 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).


About the speaker

Professor Joanna J Bryson is recognised for her broad expertise on intelligence, its nature and its consequences. She advises governments, transnational agencies, and NGOs globally, particularly in AI policy. Her work has appeared in venues ranging from Reddit to the journal Science. From 2002 to 2019 she was Computer Science faculty at the University of Bath; she has also been affiliated with Harvard Psychology, Oxford Anthropology, Mannheim Social Science Research, The Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research, and the Princeton Center for Information Technology Policy.

During her PhD, she observed the confusion generated by anthropomorphised AI, leading to her first AI ethics publication “Just Another Artifact” in 1998. She remains active in the field, including coauthoring the first national-level AI ethics policy, the UK’s (2011) Principles of Robotics. She continues to research both the system engineering of AI and the cognitive science of intelligence, with a focus on the impact of technology on human cooperation, and new models of governance for AI and ICT. She is presently the Hertie School’s Professor of Ethics and Technology, a position she took up in February 2020. She holds a BA (Chicago), a MSc & MPhil (Edinburgh), and a PhD (MIT).

AI and Law Series

The AI and Law Series is brought to you by the Montreal Cyberjustice Laboratory, the McGill Student Collective on Technology and Law, the Private Justice and the Rule of Law Research Group, and the Autonomy Through Cyberjustice Technologies Project.

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