The Ethical Engineering of Complex Systems: robot police, judges, and digital beings

April 26, 2022
Philosophy, Texas A&M University

College Station
United States

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


University of Miami
State University of New York (SUNY)
Cambridge University
State University of New York, Buffalo


Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University

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The Ethical Engineering of Complex Systems: robot police, judges, and digital beings


Barry Smith (University at Buffalo)

Berit Brogaard (University of Miami)

Vincent Mueller (TU Eindhoven) 

Jobst Landgrebe (Cognotekt)

Rune Nyrup (Cambridge)


Papers that investigate philosophical issues related to the ethical engineering of complex systems, with a focus on digital being(s) are invited for the 2022 Bovay Engineering and Applied Ethics Workshop.  

Questions that could be investigated include: What are the engineering and ethical limits of AI? What roles are there for blockchain technologies and other means of identity and verification? Can values be built into complex systems or are there limits posed by complexity? What moral and legal liabilities are at stake and how can they be apportioned? We are particularly interested in papers focusing on these issues in the domains of crime and finance (including police, courts, fraud detection. health consent, health data, identity data/privacy, and military ethics) but any abstract relating to the theme is welcomed.

We welcome submission of papers from faculty of all ranks and graduate students.  Papers that are interdisciplinary will be considered as long as they have some philosophical merit. Travel funding, up to $750 per person, will be available for faculty and graduate students whose abstracts are accepted.


The Bovay Engineering and Applied Ethics Workshop Series aims to develop a community of scholars and practitioners interested in applied ethics, especially on issues that affect engineering ethics.  The theme of the 5th workshop is “Energy Ethics.”  The workshop will highlight paper presentations from the invited participants, which will each be followed by extended discussion with other workshop participants.  We are expecting to set aside at least two sessions for papers received through this Call for Papers, schedule permitting. 

The Department of Philosophy at Texas A&M University, which will host the workshop, is internationally known for research in applied ethics.  The workshop is generously supported by the Harry E. Bovay, Jr. Foundation and organized in cooperation with the Texas A&M Energy Institute.


The deadline for submission of abstracts is 15 December, 2021.  Please send your abstract of no more than 500 words in the body of an email message to [email protected] or [email protected] with the subject line “Bovay Workshop.”  Notification of acceptance will be sent by 22 December 2021.  If the submissions outnumber the available slots, a selection will be made on the basis of the quality of the abstracts.  In writing your abstract, please bear in mind that full papers should be suitable for a 30-minute presentation, which will be followed by 15 minutes of Q&A.


The workshop will take place at the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. The first session will start at 9:00 AM on Tuesday, April 26, 2022 and the workshop will conclude around 6:00 PM on the same day.  Information about registration, the workshop venue, hotel bookings and other practical questions will be published soon.  There is no registration fee.  Travel funding (up to $750) will be available for participants whose abstracts are accepted. 

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