Rapid developments in digital technology–particularly in artificial intelligence, data collection, and cloud computing–bring an abundance of opportunities but also raise ethical challenges related to employment, health care, privacy, trust, safety, inclusiveness, and accountability. The Initiative in Ethics and Transformative Technologies will stimulate productive discussions about the human impact of transformative technologies and will produce educational resources and business certifications that contribute to the creation of a more just and humane world, a world in which everyone benefits from the opportunities these new technologies make possible.
Maria Carl, Chair, Department of Philosophy
Margaret Chon, Professor, School of Law
Richard Fehrenbacher, Director, Center for Digital Learning and Innovation
Richard LeBlanc, Professor, Department of Computer Science
Michael Quinn, Dean, College of Science and Engineering
Jeffery Smith, Director, Center for Business Ethics
Laura Vasilopoulos, Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations
Dr. Nathan Colaner is a senior instructor in the Department of Management and the Director of the Bridge MBA program. Colaner’s PhD is in philosophy, with a focus on ethics and epistemology in general. But his subsequent MBA & Business Analytics degree led him to focus specifically on data ethics and the ethics of machine learning & artificial intelligence. His recent research is on the ethical, technical, and epistemological aspects of machine learning, specifically regarding the creation of explainable artificial intelligence. He teaches "Law and Ethics in Business Analytics" in the graduate and undergraduate programs in business analytics. These classes deal with the ethical and legal implications of data use and responsible business uses of artificial intelligence. As a consultant, he works directly with private and governmental organizations to implement ethical data and machine learning solutions."
As Seattle University’s Ethics Bowl coach and the faculty coordinator for the Matteo Ricci Institute’s Applied Ethics Workshop, Dr. Benjamin Howe has overseen dozens of student research projects on the ethics of computer science and information technology. Students have explored new challenges to the protection of privacy in the age of social media, as well as the difficult question of how governments should protect democracy from algorithm-generated political propaganda without compromising their obligation to protect free speech. Much of the most exciting research has concerned the direction of future technologies. For example, in recent years, students have spent considerable time exploring the question of whether and how government and industry should aim to influence the development of robots that serve as human companions. Should we require programmers to develop robots that behave ethically and, if so, what should count as ethical behavior in a robot?
Dr. Jessica Imanaka’s research has focused on technology and power. She brings 20th and 21st century continental European philosophy to a critical analysis of emerging issues in technology. She is also interested in how contemplative traditions intersect with emerging trends in technology. Current research focuses on the psycho-politics of cognitive enhancement.
For information on Dr. Imanaka’s most recent published paper, please visit: Laudato Si’, Technologies of Power and Environmental Injustice: Toward an Eco-Politics Guided by Contemplation
Dr. Tracy Ann Kosa is currently teaching privacy at Seattle University, conducting research at Stanford University, working in security at Google and serving as the Ombudsman for the AI Ethics Board for Axon. Kosa has previously held a number of privacy leadership roles at Microsoft, the Government of Ontario and related tech agencies, where she has helped multiple departments and teams pioneer measurement and assessment programs across the organizations as key components of corporate-wide privacy functions.
Kosa has been active in technology ethics, privacy, and user trust across healthcare, education, finance and the law enforcement sector for 20 years. She specializes in interdisciplinary approaches developing models, systems and processes to capture human values for computational purposes. She has specialized in privacy programs, technical solution design, privacy product development, incident response and breach notification with a focus on automation.
Kosa has been awarded degrees in computer science (Ph.D.), ethics (MA), public policy (MA) and political science (Hons.BA).
Dr. Christopher Paul's work analyzes the implications of the symbol systems used in and around digital technologies. He focuses mostly on the words, design, and play of video games and how dominant norms can create toxic environments and limit the kinds of technology and games that get made.
To view Dr. Paul's latest work, please visit: Dr. Christopher Paul Published Works
Dr. Michael Quinn is a leader in the field of computer ethics. His textbook, Ethics for the Information Age, explores moral problems related to modern uses of information technology, such as privacy, intellectual property rights, computer security, and software reliability. The book, now in its eighth edition, has been adopted by more than 125 colleges and universities in the United States and many more internationally.
Dr. Jeffery Smith is Seattle University's Frank Shrontz Chair in Professional Ethics and Professor of Management in the Albers School of Business and Economics where he teaches ethics in the management, finance and accounting programs. He currently serves on the Executive Board of the Society for Business Ethics and will assume its Presidency in 2017. Professor Smith's research interests lie at the intersection of philosophy and business, currently focusing on the philosophical dimensions of corporate responsibility, examining whether recent calls for greater social involvement by corporations can be given a moral foundation, political foundation, or some combination of both. Smith's work has been published in journals such as Business Ethics Quarterly, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, and the Journal of Business Ethics, and he is the co-author of the forthcoming 8th edition of Ethics and the Conduct of Business.