AI ethics from the ground up

Categories: presentation slides

Presentation from a special workshop at #WebSci20. Presentation abstract: Interdisciplinary research has led to significant breakthroughs in the fields of AI, robotics and autonomous systems. Yet it has also been the basis of significant controversies. Cambridge Analytica and Facebook’s amalgam of psychographics, data science and engineering at scale being perhaps the most infamous recent example. … Read More

They promised me robots

Categories: blog

This article originally appeared in Alchemy. Science for the Real World. The magazine of UCL’s Department of Science and Technology Studies. June 2020. They promised me robots. What I wasn’t expecting was a foyer that was something between luxury spa and elderly day centre. I was in Stoke Gifford, ExtraCare’s still-under-construction retirement complex outside Bristol, … Read More

Statues perform their politics in the present

Categories: blog

Published in the Irish Times, June 13th, 2020, in response to “Once you start pulling down statues, where do you stop?”, Opinion & Analysis, June 12th. Sir, – Diarmaid Ferriter’s article on history’s complexities is well made. Yet it neglects the current controversy’s chief concern – that statues in our streets are political statements in … Read More

Warehouse working conditions and the NHS contact tracing app

Categories: research notes

From a Twitter thread A question for @NHSX: Can you assure us of accountability, recourse and fairness all the way down the application stack? The NHS contact tracing app is using a tonne of technologies, platforms and infrastructures from private and public orgs to get this done. @NHSX tell us our data is safe, our … Read More

Modes of AI research: stealing old ideas

Categories: research notes

“This time is different” is a common refrain from AI’s more passionate advocates. Here’s Maggie Boden on the history of ideas in AI, from her incredible 1,000+ page history of cognitive science. If today’s AI researchers aren’t deliberately stealing and renaming old ideas, as Father Hacker advises, they are sometimes reinventing the wheel—and lack of … Read More

Human capabilities for innovation in UK makerspaces

Categories: blog

Title: Human capabilities for innovation in UK makerspaces Authors: Cian O’Donovan and Adrian Smith Précis: Makerspaces can be a source of human capabilities that benefit people and society. But these capabilities will only lead to flourishing communities if they are accompanied by structural changes to our economies, cities and environment. Full blog at STEPS Centre.

Reasons the UK doesn’t need an MIT of the North

Categories: research notes

From Twitter headline: Johnson plans to shift civil servants out of London. PM said to be keen to locate new government agencies outside capitalLink: Does UK science and technology need an MIT in the North? Wrong question. Rather, do we need an MIT model at all? Almost certainly not. Here are a few … Read More

Technology and Human Capabilities in UK Makerspaces

Categories: journal article

Title: Technology and Human Capabilities in UK Makerspaces Authors: Cian O’Donovan and Adrian Smith Download full paper: 10.1080/19452829.2019.1704706 Abstract: The relationship between technology and human capabilities is an ambivalent one. The same technology can expand capabilities for some users under certain circumstances, whilst diminishing capabilities for others situated differently. In this paper we analyse human … Read More

Explicitly ethical standards for robotics

Categories: working paper

Title: Explicitly ethical standards for robotics Authors: Cian O’Donovan Full paper download: Abstract: This paper explores how explicitly ethical standards for robotics are peer-produced. It describes the motivations, organisation and practices of standardization contributed by a globally distributed community of experts. The research question asks what kind of rules for robots are being created … Read More