Presented By
O’Reilly + Intel AI
Put AI to Work
April 15-18, 2019
New York, NY

Maintaining Human Control of Artificial Intelligence

Joanna Bryson (University of Bath)
1:00pm1:40pm Thursday, April 18, 2019
Law and Ethics
Location: Sutton North/Center
Secondary topics:  Ethics, Privacy, and Security

Who is this presentation for?

Tech workers, policy makers



Prerequisite knowledge

I will expect people to be familiar with software engineering more generally. Detailed knowledge of AI programming techniques may make the talk more interesting but is not required.

What you'll learn

AI is not a new species discovered, it's a software engineering technique that has to date often been implemented in ways woefully lacking in DevOps. We can have and use extremely complex AI systems so long as we provide enough documentation, live testing, and ring fencing to ensure that we can demonstrate due diligence and lack of liability.


Although not a universally held goal, maintaining human-centric artificial
intelligence is necessary for society’s long-term stability. Fortunately, the legal and
technological problems of maintaining control are actually fairly well understood
and amenable to engineering. The real problem is establishing the social and political will for assigning and maintaining accountability for artifacts when these artefacts are generated or used. I begin by reviewing the necessity and tractability
of maintaining human control, and then both the technological and policy mechanisms by which this can be achieved. What makes the problem both most interesting and most threatening is that achieving consensus around such an approach requires at least some measure of agreement on broad existential concerns. But without clear accountability across the sector, AI will be used to facilitate fraud, with AI legal persons proving the ultimate technology as both shell companies and bought votes.

Photo of Joanna Bryson

Joanna Bryson

University of Bath

Joanna J. Bryson is a transdisciplinary researcher on the structure and dynamics of human- and animal-like intelligence. Her research covering topics from artificial intelligence, through autonomy and robot ethics, and on to human cooperation has appeared in venues ranging from a reddit to Science. She holds degrees in Psychology from Chicago and Edinburgh, and Artificial Intelligence from Edinburgh and MIT. She has additional professional research experience from Princeton, Oxford, Harvard, and LEGO, and technical experience in Chicago’s financial industry, and international management consultancy. Bryson is presently a Reader (associate professor) at the University of Bath.

Leave a Comment or Question

Help us make this conference the best it can be for you. Have questions you'd like this speaker to address? Suggestions for issues that deserve extra attention? Feedback that you'd like to share with the speaker and other attendees?

Join the conversation here (requires login)