The University of Southampton
PhilosophyPart of Humanities

Artificial Ethics Symposium Event

18 - 19 December 2017
To be confirmed

For more information regarding this event, please email Dr Will McNeill at .

Event details

A Joint 2-Day Symposium and workshop by the Southampton Ethics Centre and the University of Southampton Autonomous Systems University Strategic Research Group.

Autonomous systems are set to become ever more integrated into human society. We have self-driving cars, pilotless aircraft. There are systems approving mortgages and offering financial advice.

This symposium will explore the ethical challenges - both theoretical and practical - which surround the development and implementation of such systems.

The Symposium will feature keynote talks by both ethicists and engineers, a roundtable discussion and dinner. We have also issued a Call for Abstracts (see below).

Relevant questions to be addressed include:

  • Should machine ethics simply extend existing human ethical systems?
  • Are the ethical standards for machines the same as those for people in identical circumstances?
  • Should we program machines with explicit ethical rules, or by something more akin to exemplar-based learning?
  • If we program machines to be ethical and they disagree with us, might we defer to them?
  • Can a machine be held responsible for wrongdoing?
  • To what extent should the government oversee machine ethics, and to what extent should it be left to the market? Or should the sector be self-regulating?
  • What are the main ethical risks of autonomous systems?
  • What ethical benefits might there be to automation?
  • A full programme will be announced in August.

Call for Abstracts

We invite extended abstracts on the theme of machine ethics.

Papers are welcomed from philosophers as well as from engineers and computer scientists working on relevant problems.Abstracts should be submitted as attachments to Dr Will McNeill, no later than 23 October 2017.

  • Abstracts should be no longer 1,000 words in length.
  • They should be submitted in MS Word format and suitable for blind review. The document should include a paper title but no author names or affiliations.
  • In the body of the email please provide the title of the paper as well as institutional affiliations and author names.


There is a limited fund to cover selected speakers' travel and accommodation expenses.

Accessibility and Childcare

We are committed to ensuring that our events are accessible. Information about accessibility and childcare will be posted very shortly.

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