Welcome to my website.
I’m a doctoral researcher based at the Oxford Internet Institute, exploring the ethical and political impact of data and AI on society, with specific research interests in AI ethics, the use of AI for social good, social media as a public sphere, and the use of algorithms to deal with online hate speech. My past research has included work on digital politics, big and open data, digital state surveillance, and the use of web archives in research.
I’m also a Research Associate at the Alan Turing Institute, where as part of the public policy programme I focus on translating insights from academia into effective policy frameworks for the ethical use of data science and AI by governments.
My other engagements include serving as the Convenor of the Turing’s Ethics Advisory Group, a member of the Institute’s Data Ethics Group, and a member of the Ethics Committee of Digital Catapult’s Machine Intelligence Garage, where I work with start-ups to develop action plans for ensuring the ethical use of machine learning technology. Finally, I appear regularly on Monocle 24’s morning show The Globalist to discuss politics and technology, and host AlgoRhythms, a weekly tech-focused podcast.
Less often than I’d like, I also write about food, sport, and films.
This website is a semi-regularly updated repository of my research, writing, project experience and other information. You can find me in other forms and formats on Twitter, Medium, LinkedIn and Google Scholar.
Since 2016, social media companies and news providers have come under pressure to tackle the spread of political mis-and disinformation (MDI) online. However, despite evidence that online health MDI (on the web, on social media, and within mobile apps) also has negative real-world effects, there has been a lack of comparable action by either online service providers or state-sponsored public health bodies. We argue that this is problematic and seek to answer three questions: why has so little been done to control the flow of, and exposure to, health MDI online; how might more robust action be justified; and what specific, newly justified actions are needed to curb the flow of, and exposure to, online health MDI?
A new paper written by Jessica Morley, myself, Rosaria Taddeo and Luciano Floridi has now been published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
This article presents a mapping review of the literature concerning the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI) in health care. The goal of this review is to summarise current debates and identify open questions for future research. Our goal is to inform policymakers, regulators and developers of what they must consider if they are to enable health and care systems to capitalise on the dual advantage of ethical AI; maximising the opportunities to cut costs, improve care, and improve the efficiency of health and care systems, whilst proactively avoiding the potential harms.
I am a co-author on a new paper written with Jessica Morley, Caio Machado, Chris Burr, Indra Joshi, Rosaria Taddeo and Luciano Floridi, now published in Social Science and Medicine.
In this article, we focus on the socio-political background and policy debates that are shaping China’s AI strategy. In particular, we analyse the main strategic areas in which China is investing in AI and the concurrent ethical debates that are delimiting its use. By focusing on the policy backdrop, we seek to provide a more comprehensive and critical understanding of China’s AI policy by bringing together debates and analyses of a wide array of policy documents.
A new paper by Huw Roberts, myself, Jess Morley, Vincent Wang, Rosaria Taddeo and Luciano Floridi has been published in AI & Society.
Here we set out 16 questions to assess whether — and to what extent — a contact-tracing app is ethically justifiable. These questions could assist governments, public-health agencies and providers [and] will also help watchdogs and others to scrutinize such technologies.
A comment piece by colleagues Jessica Morley, Rosaria Taddeo, Luciano Floridi and myself was recently published in Nature.
I was live on the BBC World Service’s Newsday programme this morning to discuss the escalation of tensions between President Donald Trump and the social networking site Twitter. Listen here (48 minutes in).
The slow, deliberative nature of representative democracy seems ill-suited to the urgency of the present moment. Can it survive the new politics of speed?
Read my new blog post on Medium.
In a new blog on the Alan Turing Institute website, myself, Bertie Vidgen and Helen Margetts explain how the COVID-19 crisis has exposed the importance of social media, and argue for the protection of workers involved as content moderation as key workers.
A new paper I co-authored with Luciano Floridi, Thomas C. King and Mariarosaria Taddeo has been published (open access) in Science and Engineering Ethics.
The idea of artificial intelligence for social good (henceforth AI4SG) is gaining traction within information societies in general and the AI community in particular. It has the potential to tackle social problems through the development of AI-based solutions. Yet, to date, there is only limited understanding of what makes AI socially good in theory, what counts as AI4SG in practice, and how to reproduce its initial successes in terms of policies. This article addresses this gap by identifying seven ethical factors that are essential for future AI4SG initiatives. The analysis is supported by 27 case examples of AI4SG projects. Some of these factors are almost entirely novel to AI, while the significance of other factors is heightened by the use of AI. From each of these factors, corresponding best practices are formulated which, subject to context and balance, may serve as preliminary guidelines to ensure that well-designed AI is more likely to serve the social good.
I contributed a chapter to the 2019 Yearbook of the Digital Ethics Lab, which has just been published.
Through its power to “rationalise”, artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly changing the relationship between people and the state. But to echo Max Weber’s warnings from one hundred years ago about the increasingly rational bureaucratic state, the “reducing” power of AI systems seems to pose a threat to democracy—unless such systems are developed with public preferences, perspectives and priorities in mind. In other words, we must move beyond minimal legal compliance and faith in free markets to consider public opinion as constitutive of legitimising the use of AI in society. In this chapter I pose six questions regarding how public opinion about AI ought to be sought: what we should ask the public about AI; how we should ask; where and when we should ask; why we should ask; and who is the “we” doing the asking. I conclude by contending that while the messiness of politics may preclude clear answers about the use of AI, this is preferable to the “coolly rational” yet democratically deficient AI systems of today.
This is the politics of subtraction: the false promise that progress is only possible if we as a nation remove ourself from existing partnerships.
Read my new blog post on Medium.