Institute becomes a founding member of the Philosophy, AI and Society Consortium

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The Institute for Ethics in AI is delighted to be part of a new international research network with philosophers at the Australian National University, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford and Toronto.  The Philosophy, AI and Society Consortium (PAIS), which has launched today, will pioneer empirically-grounded, philosophically ground-breaking work on the moral and political philosophy of data and AI. 

The Consortium aims to support philosophical researchers aiming to contribute to the urgent task of shaping the ethical considerations around AI, and to foster an international debate that uses the most rigorous and innovative philosophical tools to make progress on these problems.


PAIS will build an international community of philosophers, with a particular focus on mentoring and supporting PhD students and early career researchers transitioning to work on the moral and political philosophy of AI and related technologies. Its members have already played leading roles in international AI Ethics conferences, focused research workshops, and curating journal special issues. It will hold an annual PAIS conference, and an annual doctoral colloquium, as well as regular philosophy research workshops. Excitingly, the Institute will host the Consortium’s first doctoral colloquium in Oxford in February-March 2023.

The Consortium’s announcement comes with a clear mission statement: “Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become critical infrastructure, shaping our personal, social, and political lives, influencing everything from geopolitics, to industry, to the meaning of friendship. As we grow increasingly reliant on digital technologies in ever more spheres of our lives, our dependence on the algorithmic systems that allow those technologies to adapt dynamically to new circumstances will only grow.

“Our urgent task is therefore to understand and design AI systems that will contribute to human flourishing, social justice, and robust, stable democracy. This task requires both moral diagnosis, and the ability to sketch a vision of our future with AI, to provide values to guide technologists and regulators alike. This in turn requires a new turn in moral and political philosophy.”

Professor John Tasioulas, Director of the Institute for Ethics in AI at Oxford University, said: “I am proud that the Institute is a founding member of this much-needed Consortium. PAIS’ goals align with ours: to draw on the rigour and depth of philosophy and the humanities in addressing the critical moral and political questions posed by the rapid rise of AI. Bringing together an international network of philosophers from leading universities will give us a stronger collective voice in the noisy arena of AI commentary. I am particularly supportive of the Consortium’s objective to promote an international public conversation on the ethics of AI, which we have been doing through our regular event series and our Twitter account @EthicsinAI.” 

The philosophers forming the Consortium come from Australian National University’s HMI Project and MINT Lab, Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Oxford’s Institute for Ethics in AI, Princeton’s University Center for Human Values, Stanford’s Institute for Human-Centered AI and the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society (SRI) at the University of Toronto.

PAIS will be posting updates on Twitter at @paisnetwork.


Image attribution: Max Gruber / Better Images of AI / Banana / Plant / Flask / CC-BY 4.0