FEATURE2 December 2019

Sandra Wachter in seven

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Data analytics Features Impact Legal People UK

Sandra Wachter is associate professor and senior research fellow in law and ethics of AI, big data and robotics at Oxford University, and a fellow at the Alan Turing Institute and of the World Economic Forum’s global futures council on values, ethics and innovation


1. How can artificial intelligence most benefit society?

It can be extremely beneficial in sectors such as health, where you can augment medical decision-making by preventing or spotting diseases, and having good treatment plans. Similar things can be seen with climate change, but we must keep in mind the risks of machine learning and artificial intelligence when we create these systems. It’s making sure the technology brings us closer together, rather than sets us apart.

2. Does the legal profession understand AI well enough?

It is crucial that disciplines talk to each other; there’s not much interdisciplinary research going on. It’s very important that we get people from different backgrounds – I work with an ethicist and a computer scientist. We have a research programme on the governance of emerging technologies, and we think about the legal and ethical challenges that arise with those systems.

3. How can big tech behave more ethically?

With big data comes big responsibility because ...