Ethics and AI: The Uses We Make of Emerging Technologies and Machine Learning

September 19, 2024 - September 20, 2024
Department of Communication Studies & Philosophy, Utah State University

550 N 900 E
Logan 84322
United States

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

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  • USU Center for Anticipatory Intelligence
  • USU College of Humanities and Social Sciences


University of Oregon
Northeastern University
New York University
University of Kansas



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Artificial Intelligence has captured recent headlines with the rise of large language models (LLMs).  They represent a leap forward in the development of human inventions that may rank amongst the most important in the history of our species.  The questions that the continued improvement of AI pose to humanity are thus urgent and unavoidable.  However, the deeper principles and methods that are necessary for dealing with these new questions come from the foundational work that takes place within philosophy and the humanities more broadly. 

Rationale for the Conference 

Technological innovation and change have been a perennial component of human life since its inception. In many ways, technology is one of the defining features of any society in history. Innovations like the printing press, penicillin, and the internal combustion engine forever altered the communities where they emerged. It is possible to say that these technological innovations destroyed one world and created a new one in its place. 

We are living through an age of radical change and evolution via the emergence of artificial intelligence and machine learning systems. These technologies are very new, and in many ways the implications and consequences of these new systems are nebulous and unclear. Of course, we as human beings have some say in how AI comes into our world. How should machine learning systems be used in our society? Are there responsible and irresponsible uses of this technology? How should make these sorts of decisions? What implications do these systems have for our very understanding of the universe? What kind of knowledge can we use the machine to pursue? Are there limits to what we can learn from or with these devices? 

This conference aims to bring together top scholars from philosophy, the humanities, and the sciences for an interdisciplinary discussion that focuses on the epistemological and ethical dimensions of AI.  Speakers will cover foundational questions related to uses of machine learning and immerging technologies as well as how these more basic questions relate to specific fields, topics, or policy debates.  The philosophy department, in conjunction with a number of other departments, to provide two days of invited speakers and immerging scholars from philosophy, data science, and the broader humanities. 

Keynote Address:  John Symons, University of Kansas 
Director of the Center for Cyber Social Dynamics 

Plenary Speaker: Matthew Liao, New York University 
Director for the Center of Bioethics at NYU 

Plenary Speaker: Kathleen Creel, Northeastern University 

Plenary Speaker: Ramón Alvarado, University of Oregon 

Plenary Speaker: Maya Indira Ganesh, University of Cambridge 

Notice Regarding Utah Bill HB 257 “Sex-based Designations for Privacy, Anti-bullying, and Women’s Opportunities”

During the 2024 Legislative session, the Utah Legislature passed HB 257 “Sex-based Designations for Privacy, Anti-bullying, and Women’s Opportunities.” You may have heard this bill referred to as a “bathroom bill” or “bathroom ban” in the media. However, the bill does not restrict the use of restrooms on campus unless the restroom is within or attached to a changing room, so restrooms at our conference venue (the Eccles Conference Center) are exempt from the provisions of this law. For more information, please visit:

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