The Thoughts the Civilized Keep: How to Reclaim Human Intelligence in an Age of Machine Thinking

Prof Shannon Vallor

Professor Shannon Vallor

I am the Baillie Gifford Chair in the Ethics of Data and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh Futures Institute, where I am also appointed as Professor in Philosophy.

My research explores the philosophy and ethics of emerging science and technologies. My current research project focuses on the impact of emerging technologies–particularly those involving automation and artificial intelligence–on the moral and intellectual habits, skills and virtues of human beings: our character.

My work investigates how human character is being transformed by rapid advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, new social media, surveillance, and biomedical technologies, and appears in journals such as Ethics and Information Technology, Philosophy & Technology, and Techne, as well as a 2016 book from Oxford University Press:  Technology and the Virtues: A Philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting. I am the editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Technology and am currently working on a new book on the subject of artificial intelligence and ethics: The AI Mirror: Rebuilding Humanity in an Age of Machine Thinking.

I have a special interest in the integration of ethics with industry and engineering/computer science education, and I engage in outreach on this subject with a range of stakeholders inside and outside academia, including government, industry, law, media and public policy professionals and advocates. I presently chair Scotland’s Data Delivery Group and serve on several boards in the domain of data ethics and responsible AI and robotics development. Recent professional honours include the 2015 World Technology Award in Ethics.

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Hybrid lecture

Hybrid lectures are given in-person in the James McCune Smith lecture theatre at Glasgow University and are also available on Zoom.
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