July 2018 Seminar: Machines and Morality: Can AI be Ethical?


At this meeting Stephanie Mathisen, Policy Manager at Sense About Science, and Tamara Ansons, Behavioural Science Consultant at Ipsos, addressed the question of the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence – is it possible for machines to have morality?


Dr Tamara L Ansons is an expert on behavioural science. After receiving her PhD in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the University of Manitoba, she did a post-doc in Marketing at the University of Michigan and then worked as an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Warwick Business School before moving to LSE to manage their Behavioural Research Lab. Her academic research focused on examining how subtle cognitive processes and contextual or situational factors non-consciously alter how individuals form judgments and behave. Much of this work has focused on how cognitive psychology can be applied to provide a deeper understanding of our interactions with technology – from online search behaviour, to social media and immersive technologies. She has published her research across a range of academic journals and books, and presented her research at many international conferences. At Ipsos Tamara is drawing on her expertise to translate academic research into scalable business practices. Recent projects that she has contributed to while at Ipsos include: Using goal setting and technology to increase physical activity in a healthcare community; Examining the psychology of technology adoption; Applying behavioural science to optimise digital experiences; Developing a model of behaviour change to better understand the barriers and enablers of secure cyber behaviour.

Dr Stephanie Mathisen is policy manager at Sense about Science, an independent charity that ensures the public interest in sound science and evidence is recognised in public debates and policymaking. Steph has just organised the first ever Evidence Week in the UK parliament, which took place 25–28 June this year. Steph works on transparency about evidence in policy and decision-making, including assessing the UK government’s performance on that front. She submits evidence to parliamentary inquiries and coordinates Sense about Science’s continuing role in the Libel Reform Campaign. In February 2017, Steph persuaded the House of Commons science and technology committee to launch an inquiry into the use of algorithms in decision- making.

Time and Venue

2pm on 26th July 2018, The British Dental Association, 64 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8YS

Pre Event Information

The speakers at this meeting will be addressing the question of the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence – is is it possible for machines to have morality? And to do this, they’ll be unpacking the hype currently surrounding the subject of AI – how much of it is justified, and how do they see these new technologies influencing human society over the coming decades? The potential of AI and its many applications needs little to spark enthusiastic intrigue and adoption. For example, when it comes to managing customer experiences, Gartner estimates that 85% of customer interactions will be managed without humans by 2020.

However, as we plough ahead with the adoption of AI, it hasn’t taken long to realise that incorporating AI into our lives needs to be handled with a careful, measured approach. Indeed, unpacking AI’s integration into our lives provides us with an opportunity – and responsibility – to ensure AI brings out the best of our humanness while mitigating our shortcomings. It is through a careful integration that the promise of AI and us can be realised to address the big challenges we face.

Tamara Ansons will look at:
•Human input in the creating of AI (relating to the coders and to AI training)
•AI and measurement (spinning off from the previous point is how AI guides our focus to the specific/measurable)
•Humanising technology (where we do humanise and where some barriers exist)

Stephanie Mathisen will address the importance of:
•Meaningful transparency around algorithms used in decision-making processes (to challenge or agree; fairness)


No slides available for this presentation




See our blog report: Machines and Morality: Can AI be Ethical?


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