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KMi Maven of the Month was a pioneering initiative we launched back in 1995, in collaboration with the BBC's Open University Production Unit. This was one of the first Internet Talk Radio anywhere in the world (, which used state of the art technologies (for the time...), including RealAudio, CU-SeeMe, Netscape browser and chat windows, as well as standard telephone landlines.

29 years later, we are relaunching it, inviting top experts from around the world to discuss major socio-technological topics with an audience that comprises both members of the Knowledge Media Institute, as well as the wider staff at The Open University.

Maven of the Month -  December 2nd | 11am - noon (GMT) - Banner image

Maven: Prof. Viola Schiaffonati
Event Title: Computers, robots, and experiments
Event Date: December 2nd | 11am - noon (GMT)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics technologies are revolutionizing our lives and one of the most difficult challenges is to shape them in accordance with human values and needs. In this talk, I will argue that to achieve this goal an epistemic and methodological dimension should be added to the ethical one usually discussed. In particular I will claim that the traditional notion of controlled experiment needs to be revised in the case of AI and robotics, and the novel framework of explorative experiment introduced. This framework sets the ground not only for new epistemic categories but also for reconsidering the traditional moral principles guiding experimentation in the case of AI and robotics, where uncertainty about their impacts and risks is very high.

Bio: Viola Schiaffonati is associate professor of Logic and Philosophy of Science at Politecnico di Milano, Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering. She holds a PhD in Philosophy of Science from Universitą di Genova. She has been visiting scholar at the Department of Philosophy of the University of California at Berkeley and visiting researcher at the Suppes Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Science and Technology of the Stanford University. Viola Schiaffonati is the director of the CINI National Laboratory on Informatics & Society (IeS), Editor-in-Chief of Mondo Digitale, a magazine published by AICA (Italian Association of Computing), and Associated Editor of the Springer journal Science and Engineering Ethics. She currently serves as expert in the European Commission expert group on Artificial Intelligence and Data in education and training. Her research interests are in the philosophy of AI and robotics, the epistemology and methodology of experiments in computer engineering and autonomous robotics, the ethical issues of intelligent and autonomous systems.

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