Project Leader: Seth Lazar
Associate Professor Seth Lazar is Head of the School of Philosophy at the ANU. Author of one monograph with Oxford University Press (Sparing Civilians, 2015), he has another under contract on Duty under Doubt. He has published papers on risk, war, and moral decision theory in the world’s leading philosophy journals, and has received awards and grants from the American Philosophical Association, the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia, and the Australian Research Council.
“I have always been fascinated by moral decision-making under risk and uncertainty—from the ethics of war, to moral decision theory. I’m so excited to work with this team on the HMI project, because together we’ll bring fundamental research at the frontiers of knowledge to bear on one of the greatest challenges of our age.”
Discovery Lead: Toni Erskine
Professor Toni Erskine is Director of the Coral Bell School of Asia-Pacific Affairs. Her work in politics and international relations includes an award-winning monograph on duties to enemies and strangers in international politics and law. She is an Associate Fellow of Centre for Future of Intelligence (Cambridge), has actively collaborated with Google on AI policy in the Asia-Pacific, and is the incoming Co-Editor of International Theory.
Foundations Lead: Colin Klein
Colin Klein publishes on philosophy and cognitive science (among other areas) in leading philosophy and science journals. His collaborative, cross-disciplinary research has commanded substantial public interest, including featuring in global media such as NY Times and Wired, and registering altimetric scores in the top 5%. His monograph on pain, with MIT Press, won the David Harold Tribe award. He is an ARC Future Fellow and ANU Futures Awardee, as well as lead CI on an ARC Discovery project to begin 2019. He is a founder of the Australasian Society for Philosophy and Psychology.
“My work has always focused on places where methodological issues in the sciences are driven by philosophical questions. Designing and understanding ethical machine intelligence is a chance to work on an issue that touches nearly every area of philosophy while having wide practical importance.”
Design Lead: Sylvie Thiébaux
Professor Sylvie Thiébaux has led a number of major projects in both applied and fundamental AI research, and is co-editor in chief of the top journal in the field.
Her awards include several best paper awards at leading conferences, and national innovation awards for the application of AI and optimisation technologies to smart grids. Her basic research and R&D grants total over $6.5m in the last five years. Her current research focuses on automated planning and scheduling, reasoning under uncertainty, and their applications to energy and transport.
Engagement/Impact Lead: Robert Williamson
Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, and the Australian Mathematical Society, Professor Robert Williamson has led multiple major research projects, with significant government and industry support, including helping found NICTA (now Data61). He was lead author on Technology and Australia's Future (2015), and led a machine learning research group (2011-2015) reviewed as top five in the world.
“I have always tried to focus upon the most fundamental and important problems. My work on the Technology and Australia’s Future report reinforced to me the importance of taking societal concerns into account when designing new technologies. This project excites me not only because of its topicality and importance, but because of our globally differentiated approach and the outstanding team of folks across campus who share a unified vision of what we want to do.”
Dr. Jenny Davis was recently awarded an ARC DECRA fellowship to research ethics within tech startups. She is the author of a forthcoming book with MIT Press on the social impacts of technological design. She is co-editor of the Cyborgology blog, published in leading international sociology and communication journals, and recipient of an ANU Futures award. She engages in qualitative, theoretical, and experimental research into human behaviour.
Associate Professor Katie Steele’s work on decision theory, rational choice, the philosophy of economics and other related areas is published in the top journals in philosophy of science, as well as leading generalist philosophy journals. She has a monograph under contract with Cambridge University Press on managing severe uncertainty, and is an associate editor of Philosophy of Science, one of the leading journals in the field. She has substantial interdisciplinary and policy experience, through work on climate change and economic theory. She is also an ANU Futures Awardee.
Professor Lexing Xie is leader of the Computational Media Lab. She is the winner of the Chris Wallace award for Outstanding Research 2017-18, and has published influential work on a range of topics in machine learning, including work on ML algorithms in social media. In recent years her ARC, CRC, US Air Force, Department of Innovation grants total over $2m.
The project chief investigators are being joined by an initial cohort of seven research fellows, with more expected to join over the life of the project. Our research fellows have been chosen not only for their ability to write ground-breaking papers that will affect global debates, but also for their ability to engage beyond their home disciplines, and to collaboratively develop answers to the fundamental problems facing moral machine intelligence that draw on all the most useful tools, whatever discipline they come from.
We are likely to be appointing more research fellows over the life of the project, both long-term and for shorter periods. If you’re world-class in your field, and you want to make a difference to the future of moral machine intelligence, then get in touch.
Dr. Claire Benn's work focuses on ethics, both normative and applied, and on the philosophy of technology. Claire has written on topics as diverse as going beyond the call of duty, perfectionism, child pornography, virtual images, the Black Mirror series, rationality, causation and robots. Her main interest is in generating an ethics to answer questions people face in their everyday lives, both now and in the near future, with a special focus on the ways in which living with AI will affect our moral landscape. Her work contributes to serious theoretical debate as well as engaging in public discourse through the publication of popular pieces, radio interviews and public lectures. Claire will be based in the Coral Bell School at the ANU.
Find out more about Claire here.
Dr. Alban Grastien received his PhD from Université Rennes 1 (France); he worked for NICTA and then for Data61. His main research topic is model-based Artificial Intelligence, in particular diagnosis and planning, using a combination of techniques based on logic, automata theory, and optimisation. More recently he worked on privacy and explanation issues in AI. He will be based in the Research School of Computer Science.
More about Alban (from 2014…)
Dr. Mario Günther is a Research Fellow with the HMI project, based in the School of Philosophy at the ANU. Recently, he has developed a new theory of learning uncertain conditional information and proposed a novel account of actual causation. His work has been published in top journals in logic and philosophy of science, as well as leading general philosophy journals. He was awarded a doctoral fellowship by the Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences and is an external member of the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy.
"The HMI project gives a great opportunity to work out, in a team of internationally leading experts, how machines can and should reason. I find the prospect of machines that reason like us particularly exciting.“
Dr. Atoosa Kasirzadeh's work lies at the intersection of philosophy (and sociology) of science and technology, individual and group decision-making, and artificial intelligence. She wrote a mathematics PhD dissertation on the optimization of large-scale decision-making problems. Currently, she is finishing her second PhD dissertation in philosophy where she tackles the contribution of mathematics to the explanation of social and natural phenomena, and the implications of this contribution to specifying the scope of explanatory reasoning for AI.
Dr. Pamela Robinson works on ethics, epistemology, and decision theory. She wrote her dissertation on foundational problems for normative theories, and she’s worked as a research fellow on an NSF grant project to design ethical algorithms for autonomous vehicles. Her current research focuses on normative uncertainty and other epistemic states that complicate decision-making.
Dr. Sarita Rosenstock recently graduated from UC Irvine’s department of Logic and Philosophy of Science, specializing in the philosophy of applied mathematics. She has published in philosophy of science journals as well as mathematics and physics journals on topics ranging from foundations of physics to evolutionary game theory. Her current research focuses on the philosophy of data science, and how formal models can guide policy decisions. Among other distinctions, Sarita participated in the Tufts-Harvard-MIT Voting Rights Data Institute in 2018, received UC Irvine’s school-wide 2018 Outstanding Graduate Student Award, and served as the managing editor of Philosophy of Science.