Funded PhD position available

Announcing an opportunity for inter-disciplinary research into implementing ethics in computers! Take a look at the new PhD position available in the School of Computer Science, at UCD. If you’re interested in investigating what it would mean for machine (any autonomic agent, really) to be ethical, how one would implement and verify such an agent, join the Machine Ethics Research Group .

We’re also organizing a workshop around the same theme. Check out the First UCD Inter-disciplinary Workshop on Implementing Machine Ethics.

Awarded Seed Funding

I’ve just been awarded Seed Funding to start creating an inter-disciplinary network on the theme of Inserting Ethics Into Autonomous Machines.  Yay!

The idea is (initially) to have invited talks from multiple disciplines (e.g. law, philosophy, robotics, hci) to flesh out various aspects of ethics from an implementation perspective. What sort of ethical theories can/should be considered? How should they be implemented? How could we verify that a machine that claims to follow an ethical principle, is indeed ethical?

The School of Computer Science has kindly agreed to co-fund some of these talks, which means that we should be able to reimburse speakers from the EU, for flights as well as a night’s stay. Looking forward to an eclectic and thought-provoking set of talks.

If you have any ideas for speakers or topics, get in touch.

Eamonn O’Toole submits his thesis on decentralized emergence detection!

Eamonn has just submitted his thesis entitled “Decentralized Detection of Emergence in Complex Adaptive Systems”. Way to go, Eamonn! Very well done! Of course, it’s really special to me since he’s my first PhD student mentee. It’s been a pleasure discussing philosophies, ideas, problems and solution concepts with you, mate. Hope you go far!

The thesis looks at the problem of detecting emergence in a large-scale complex adaptive systems, where each part could potentially be adapting independently. Given the large-scale and decentralized nature of such systems, the big questions are:

  • Is it possible to detect emergence in a decentralized fashion?
  • How do you know which variables are interesting, given that the environment and the components themselves, change dynamically?

For answers to these questions (and more), read his thesis! Too busy to read a thesis (you’re missing out)? Check out our TAAS Paper1.

O’toole E, Nallur V, Clarke S. Decentralised Detection of Emergence in Complex Adaptive Systems. A. 2017;12(1):1-31. doi:10.1145/3019597