Institute for Mathematical Innovation

Machine Learning: Algorithms and Ethics

Campus-wide thematic semester at the University of Bath


Machine learningFebruary - May 2018

Decisions produced by Machine Learning affect many aspects of our lives.

From day to day events like Netflix's suggestion of films you might like and YouTube’s decisions of which advertisements you'll see, to the answers you get from voice-powered assistants like Siri, and even how much your car insurance costs.

More profoundly, machine learning is also used for significant decisions, such as the length of jail sentences and whether to allow bail. It could even be used for welfare payments in the future. This raises important questions such as "How do we ensure we and society have access to understand and challenge these decisions?" and "How do we ensure that we aren't simply forced to accept what the algorithm has said?”.

Bringing together all academic disciplines, this interdisciplinary IMI thematic semester will shed fresh light on the rapidly growing field of machine learning and the increasing use of algorithms in public and business decision making; how this impacts individuals and how we ensure that they generate meaningful answers which can be challenged.

>> Join the thematic semester mailing list


Take part in our programme of talks, seminars and workshops 

AI, Machine Learning and Ethics: a University of Bath showcase (London event)

7 Feb: Professor James Davenport, Dr Joanna Bryson and Dr Rachid Hourizi discuss the increasing use of algorithms in public and business decision making, how this impacts individuals and how we ensure that they generate meaningful answers which can be challenged. This event will provide a snapshot of current academic research at the University of Bath as well as an overview of the upcoming thematic semester of activities through the spring of 2018. BSC, the Chartered Institute for IT, 3.00 - 7.00pm, London. Full details and registration >>

Is a Mathematician a Robot? (London event)

13 Feb: In this lecture, Professor Chris Budd OBE, Deputy Director of the IMI, will describe the mathematics of machine learning and explain its applications to robotics. He will address the question of whether a robot will ever replace a mathematician. Museum of London, 1.00 - 2.00pm. Full details and registration >>


Thematic semester kick-off event (University of Bath)

Machine Learning and its Ethical Dilemmas: an Introduction

14 Feb: Acquire a rapid overview of machine learning and the ethical questions that surround it, in preparation for the series of seminars planned during the semester. There will also be a guided practical session (bring your laptop) to see algorithms in action! Professor Mike Tipping will lead this seminar aimed at a broad scientific audience of students and staff. University of Bath, 3 West North, Room 2.1, 2.15 - 4.15pm. Full details and registration >>


Wednesday Machine Learning Seminars 

Come along to our series of machine learning seminars bringing together academics from all disciplines to share knowledge, exchange ideas and stimulate new collaborations across departments. Each seminar will feature one or more speakers on a range of relevant topics. All seminars are held in from 2.15 - 4.00pm in 8 West, Room 2.1, University of Bath.

  • Good analytics needs good data and that needs good metadata, Professor Mandy Chessell, IBM, 28 February
  • Accountable and explainable AI, Dr Sandra Wachter, Oxford Internet Institute, 7 March
  • From computational metaphysics towards computational pseudo-ethics, Dr Christoph Benzmueller, Free University of Berlin, 14 March 
  • Governance: Arguing for greater transparency, accountability and means for citizen interventions, Dr Lina Dencik and Dr Joanna Redden, Cardiff Data Justice Lab Data, 21 March
  • A series of mini talks by University of Bath researchers using machine learning, 11 April
  • Of, for, and by the people: The legal lacuna of synthetic persons, Dr Joanna Bryson, University of Bath, 18 April
  • Media and artificial intelligence, Professor Nello Cristianini, University of Bristol, 25 April
  • Machine learning for functional genomics, Dr Nick Priest, University of Bath, 2 May


Grand Public Debate on Machine Learning

9 May 2018, 5.15 - 7.00pm, The Forum, Bath, BA1 1UG
Rounding off the thematic semester on machine learning, IMI will host a large public debate discussing the motion: This house believes that transparency and accountability are essential to safe AI.

Following input from our high profile speaker panel, the debate will culminate in a public and expert vote. Join the mailing list for this event >>




Join the Machine Learning Thematic Semester

We warmly invite all academic staff, PhD students and anybody with an interest in machine learning to join the weekly Wednesday Machine Learning Seminars, taking place from 2.15 - 4.00pm, 8 West, Room 2.1, University of Bath.

>> Join our machine learning mailing list