AI Seminar

AI Seminar: Benjamin Kuipers – AI, Ethics, Trust, Cooperation & Society

Benjamin KuipersProfessor, Computer Science and EngineeringUniversity of Michigan
3725 Beyster BuildingMap

Zoom (password: UMichAI)


As artificially intelligent systems are increasingly deployed in our society, there is justified concern about unintended (or intended!) consequences. The field of AI Ethics has grown
rapidly to address these concerns, taking two complementary approaches. One advocates ethical considerations as humans develop and deploy AIs making consequential decisions. The
other considers ethics as part of the commonsense knowledge that an intelligent agent, human or artificial, needs to function effectively in its environment.

Taking a computational perspective, I describe the structure and function of ethical knowledge for humans and AIs, including central roles for trustworthiness, trust, and cooperation. Appropriate ethical beliefs encourage trust and positive-sum cooperative interactions that help a society thrive and meet its threats and opportunities. Poorly chosen ethical beliefs discourage trust and cooperation, and may leave the society vulnerable.

I would like us to discuss the possibilities for future research applying this perspective to certain important clusters of issues in AI Ethics:

  • data, surveillance, and privacy;
  • fairness and bias;
  • safe decisions by intelligent agents.


Benjamin Kuipers is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan. He was previously at the University of Texas at Austin, where he held an endowed
professorship and served as Computer Science department chair. He received his B.A. from Swarthmore College, his Ph.D. from MIT, and he is a Fellow of AAAI, IEEE, and AAAS. His
research in artificial intelligence and robotics has focused on the representation, learning, and use of foundational domains of commonsense knowledge, including knowledge of space,
dynamical change, objects, and actions. He is currently investigating ethics as a foundational domain of knowledge for robots and other AIs that may act as members of human society.

The AI Seminars are sponsored by LG AI Research.


AI Lab

Faculty Host

Ben Fish