Bernard Williams Essay Prize in AI Ethics

The Institute for Ethics in AI is pleased to announce the Bernard Williams Essay Prize in AI Ethics. The competition is open only to undergraduate students at Oxford University who are enrolled for Trinity Term 2023.

Candidates are required to write an essay in response to the following question:

What decisions should computers not make?

Essays should be a maximum of 1,500 words in length, and are to be submitted as a Pdf document, using this form (also found at the bottom of this page).

The closing date for entries is 5pm (BST) on 30 September 2023

Three finalists will be contacted by email and invited to present orally their essays at a special Institute for Ethics in AI public seminar. At the end of the seminar, a winner and the two runners-up will be selected.

 The winner will receive £500 and the two runners-up £250 each

Terms and Conditions: 

1.   Entry into this competition is taken to be in acceptance of the following terms and conditions:

2.   This competition is open to undergraduates enrolled at the University of Oxford in the academic term in which the essay question is announced

3.   Your essay must be in English and your own unaided work

4.   Plagiarism in any form will not be tolerated. Any entry found to breach academic integrity will be disqualified

5.   The essay must not exceed 1,500 words

6.   Your entry must be submitted as a pdf using the online form

7.   Maximum of one entry per person

8.   The closing date is 5pm, 30 September 2023

9.   The Institute for Ethics in AI reserves the right to publish the top three entries on our website and social media channels ad infinitum. Authors may also publish their pieces elsewhere after prizes have been awarded. The judges’ decisions will be final

10. We will not enter into any correspondence about the winner or entries, nor will we make changes to entries received

11. We will abide by good practice in the running of this competition but cannot be held responsible for circumstances beyond our control, such as being unable to access our website services. Prizes may be withheld or altered if we receive no outstanding or insufficient entries

12. Entries cannot be altered or substituted once they have been submitted

13. Entering or winning the competition does not confer a lasting association of any kind with the Institute for Ethics in AI

14. Entry is FREE

15. Incomplete submissions will be disqualified

16. Queries should be sent to