Our Op-Ed in the Boston Globe: Beware corporate 'machinewashing' of AI


In this article, my colleagues Nick Obradovich, Bill Powers, Manuel Cebrian and I argue for the possibility of a moral hazard in the way corporations deal with risks from AI on society. It may be tempting for corporations to use cheap public relations tactics, than to address some of the challenges at the core. Similar to ‘greenwashing’ practiced by companies that caused environmental damage, we dub this new possibility ‘machinewashing’. The solution? Independent oversight. Read the article here.

The Moral Machine paper is out!

Our analysis of 40 million decisions about the ethics of autonomous vehicles has now been published in Nature. The paper was a true collaboration that involves computer scientists, psychologists, economists and anthropologists. You can read the paper (view-only version) here.

Nature prepared a nice video summarizing the paper:

My new piece "Machine behavior needs to be an academic discipline" is out in Nautilus magazine


Despite their growing influence on our lives, our study of AI agents is conducted by a very specific group of people. Those scientists who create AI agents—namely, computer scientists and roboticists—are almost exclusively the same scientists who study the behavior of AI agents. We believe the study of AI agents can benefit from greater inclusion of social and behavioral scientists.

Read my Nautilus article with Manuel Cebrian, making a case for a new science of "Machine Behavior".

CONGRATS TO MY STUDENT MORGAN FRANK FOR making the cover of Science Advances


In 1981 Robert Axelrod famously hypothesized that international cooperation might evolve through direct reciprocity. In our new article in Science Advances, we present new evidence for that hypothesis. Using a new method and dataset, we're able to detect direct reciprocity in a relatively large number of country pairs. Reciprocating country pairs exhibited higher levels of stable cooperation, and were more likely to punish (yet quickly forgive) instances of non-cooperation, in an effort to maintain cooperation. By contrast, countries without reciprocal strategies were more likely to exploit each other's cooperation and abandon mutual agreements. The results indicate that policymakers of powerful countries—who may be tempted to take sweeping, non-cooperative action in areas like trade or environment—should consider the long-term negative effect of non-reciprocal tactics.