“Artificial Intelligence: New Questions for Legislation and Applied Ethics”


Joint EIRMA - EUA Webinar

“Artificial Intelligence: New Questions for Legislation and Applied Ethics"

Webinar - 3 May 2018 12.00

PDF Programme available here

The topic

This introductory lecture will deal with ethical problems of AI research and AI technology, but will also draw attention to possible cultural consequences and the psychosocial follow-up costs.

Artificial intelligence and ever more complex algorithms influence our life and civilization more than ever, there are many new issues for applied ethics, for example, value alignment, military applications, accelerated societal stratification, or synthetic phenomenology.

Technological progress presents us with historically novel ethical challenges and different stakeholders compete, having different interests and motives. Much of this still sounds like science fiction today - but from a strictly rational, philosophical perspective it is clear that high potential damage levels are to be taken seriously even if their associated probability of occurrence is low.

If time allows, I will also raise the question of whether it might make sense to increasingly implement moral cognition itself in artificial systems. Artificial moral reasoners obviously would not suffer from any cognitive biases, they would maximize the impartiality and rationality of ethical judgments, in complex normative task-domains they would certainly operate with much higher speed than humans, and they could integrate a much larger data-base as empirical premises into their ethical decisions than biological brains ever could.

At what point would we accept the epistemic authority of ethical AI, for example, if “reflexively” applied to the ethics of AI itself? 

Introductory reading

The speaker

Thomas Metzinger is currently Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz and an Adjunct Fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Study (FIAS). He is also Director of the Neuroethics Research Unit in Mainz and Director of the MIND Group at the FIAS.
Metzinger is past president of the German Cognitive Science Society (2005-2007) and of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (2009-2011). His focus of research lies in analytical philosophy of mind and cognitive science, as well as in connections between ethics, philosophy of mind and anthropology; he received several awards and Fellowships, the last one being a 5-year GRC Fellowship by the Gutenberg Research College (2014-2019). 
He has edited two collections on consciousness (“Conscious Experience”, Paderborn: mentis & Thorverton, UK: Imprint Academic, 1995; “Neural Correlates of Consciousness”, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000) and published one major scientific monograph developing a comprehensive, interdisciplinary theory about consciousness, the phenomenal self, and the first-person perspective (“Being No One – The Self-Model Theory of Subjectivity”, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003).
In 2009, he published a popular book, which addresses a wider audience and discusses the ethical, cultural and social consequences of consciousness research (“The Ego Tunnel – The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self”, New York: Basic Books).


Lidia Borrell-Damian, Director for Research and Innovation, EUA

To Register

Send an email to Carine Ternest (cternest@eirma.org)


  • Dr Ralf Behnke (Umicore)
  • Dr Javier Bilbao de Mendizabal (Melexis)
  • Ms Suzanne Bloemsma (Philips)
  • Dr Lidia Borrell-Damian (European University Association)
  • Mr Andreas Brumby (Umicore)
  • Mr Lieven Costers (Perrigo)
  • Mr Maren Cottin (Evonik Industries AG)
  • Ms Inga Döbel (Fraunhofer Gesellschaft)
  • Mr Bart Dooms (VITO)
  • Mr Filip Eckstein (ComAp a.s.)
  • Ms Sigrid Gilis (IMEC iNTERNATIONAL)
  • Ms Anne Goldberg (Solvay)
  • Ms Anina Groh (Empa)
  • Ms Aurélie Jablonski (EIRMA)
  • Mr Peter Johansson (SKF)
  • Mr Peter Kruizinga (Océ)
  • Dr Anette Kuebler (Evonik Industries AG)
  • Mr Philippe Leboeuf (DuPont de Nemours)
  • Dr Thoa Nguyen (Haldor Topsoe)
  • Mr Gerard Oosting (DSM)
  • Mr Christian Rasmussen (Grundfos)
  • Ms Monica Schofield (TuTech Innovation Gmbh)
  • Mr Chris Shilling (Independent)
  • Dr Marco Spinetto (Pirelli)
  • Prof Dietmar Theis (Independent)
  • Mr Christopher Tonk (Stora Enso)
  • Dr Sietse Van der Sluis (DSM)
  • Dr Joachim von Heimburg (Independent)
  • Dr Louis Vovelle (Elkem)


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