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Carina Prunkl

Senior Research Scholar
Future of Humanity Institute, University of Oxford

Field: Ethics and Governance of AI

Position & Organization: Senior Research Scholar, Future of Humanity Institute, University of Oxford

How did you get started in this field? My background is in Physics and Philosophy and I actually became first interested in AI through questions of how the brain works and whether machines could, in principle, become conscious. Diving deeper into the literature, however, I soon realised that there were other, more urgent, questions regarding artificial intelligence and its impact on society that either weren’t being given enough attention or hadn’t been explored in enough detail. After my PhD I decided to work on these questions full-time, which lead me to my current position at the Future of Humanity Institute.

What do you like about your work? I love that it transcends borders and fosters collaboration, not only between different academic disciplines but also between different communities. My work requires insights from policy makers, NGO’s, public and private labs, and as such it improves communication between academic and non-academic stakeholders- something that’s urgently needed in this society. I also really like my colleagues and the fact that our work might contribute to the larger goal of making AI safe and beneficial.

What do you not like about your work? This is less about my work and more about the larger research community, which shows an alarming lack of diversity. I think there is real room for improvement in this area.

Do you have any advice for women who want to enter this field? AI is a really exciting field to work in and there is a real need for people with diverse academic backgrounds  you don’t need to be a coder to make substantial contributions. Make use of existing women networks or write directly to women researchers if you would like to know what it is like to work at a particular organisation or with a particular team. Most of us are more than happy to help and share our experiences.

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