Moral debt: can technology turn it around?

Nesta talks to... Shannon Vallor

Tue, Sep 22, 2020   |   12:00 h
Online, London

Programme details

Once upon a time, technology looked to deliver a bright and liberating future. One that gave us access to boundless information that could enlighten our minds, result in more leisure time and build an increasingly proactive and inclusive world. 

In this conversation, Shannon Vallor, philosopher of technology, questions whether this has been the outcome. Have we incurred a ‘moral debt’? Has artificial intelligence been used to compensate for, bridge or disguise ethical gaps in our institutions? With its dramatic impact on our environment, economy and wellbeing has it been a temporary bandaid for deep structural problems in organisations and society?

Shannon will explore how, going forward, data-driven technologies might be capable of improving this scenario. Will we be able to pay any moral debt and will artificial intelligence fulfill its ambition to actually create a more humane and sustainable world?

Join a discussion that anticipates what emerging technologies might bring.

Shannon Vallor is the Baillie Gifford Chair in the Ethics of Data and Artificial Intelligence at the Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) at the University of Edinburgh, where she is also appointed in Philosophy. Professor Vallor's research explores how AI, robotics, and data science are reshaping human moral character, habits, and practices. She regularly advises technologists, government and industry on the ethical design and use of data and AI. She currently chairs Scotland’s Data Delivery Group and is a member of Scotland’s National Digital Ethics Expert Group, also serving on the British Computer Society’s steering committee for academic accreditation review of UK computing education programmes. She is the author of Technology and the Virtues: A Philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting (Oxford University Press, 2016) and the forthcoming Lessons from the AI Mirror: Rebuilding Our Humanity in an Age of Machine Thinking.

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