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Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and related digital technologies are impacting almost every sector of the economy and raise numerous ethical questions. The ethical and social problems raised by artificial intelligence and other technologies have become a major focus of many organisations, including for start-ups, government, defence, research labs and many corporations. Scientists play a leading role in weighing up the beneficial consequences of new technologies against ethical and governance concerns, and need to draw on a unique skill set to do so.
The aim of this subject is twofold. First, to provide scientists with the knowledge and practical skills to identify ethical problems posed by AI and related technologies. Second, to equip scientists with a framework of ethical theory, argumentation and practice that can be used to develop solutions for developing and deploying technology responsibly.
Key topics include:
- the history of AI
- established ethical theories and concepts and their relation to artificial intelligence and technology
- fairness, equity, and discrimination in automated decision making
- accountability, explainability, and transparency of AI
- practical applications of these concepts including in respect to digital platforms, applied analytics, healthcare, financial technology, and government policy design.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject, students will:
- have an advanced understanding of the ethical challenges raised by the design, deployment and evaluation of new digital technologies in both public and private sector contexts.
- have a sophisticated understanding of established ethical theories relevant to digital technologies.
- be able to critically examine, analyse and apply ethical perspectives in responding to the development and proposed uses of new digital technologies in scientific and other domains.
- have the advanced and integrated skills to be an informed and engaged participant in important debates concerning the ethics of utilising digital technologies.
- have an advanced capacity to use the knowledge and skills gained in the subject in a way that demonstrates effective autonomy, judgment, adaptability and responsibility as an expert learner in navigating and resolving the ethical challenges raised by the design, deployment and evaluation of digital technologies in public and private sector contexts.
Last updated: 29 June 2021