Duke Faculty Member to Partner With New AI Institute at Oxford

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Professor Vincent Conitzer has accepted a leadership role in a new artificial intelligence (AI) venture with the University at Oxford, the institution announced in a press release on Feb. 16.

The Institute for Ethics in AI at Oxford aims to tackle major ethical challenges posed by AI, from facial recognition to voter profiling, brain machine interfaces to weaponized drones, and the ongoing discourse about how AI will impact employment on a global scale.

Conitzer is joining the organization as the institute’s Head of Technical AI Engagement and Professor of Computer Science and Philosophy. The new appointment comes in addition to his teaching and research responsibilities at Duke. Conitzer is currently the Kimberly J. Jenkins Distinguished University Professor of New Technologies at Duke and Professor of Computer Science, Professor of Economics, and Professor of Philosophy.

“The Ethics in AI Institute is very much what the world needs right now and I am thrilled to play a role in it,” Conitzer said. “I hope to help the institute engage directly with technical research and development in AI, thereby ensuring and increasing its beneficial impact.”

Oxford cited Conitzer’s experience on a variety of topics in AI as the reason for inviting him to join the institute. His work has recently focused on how society should collectively decide on the objectives that AI systems pursue, as well as rethinking whether and how we should consider AI systems as agents in the world.

The institute was announced in June 2019 as part of a £150m gift to Oxford from Stephen A. Schwarzman, who is chairman, CEO and co-founder of Blackstone, one of the world’s leading investment firms. It will be part of the Philosophy faculty and based in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities.