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Karina Vold

speaker location icon U.K.

Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto’s Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology

Research Fellow in the Faculty of Philosophy at University of Cambridge

Digital Charter Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute

Dr. Karina Vold is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto’s Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology. She was previously a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at the University of Cambridge, and a Digital Charter Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute. Before that she received her PhD in Philosophy from McGill University. She is currently researching the risks and limitations of AI and other emerging cognitive technologies.

Dr. Vold’s current research addresses foundational and normative questions around how emerging technologies, especially AI and other data-enabled technologies, are impacting the human mind, including our consciousness, memory, and decision-making. Questions such as how our digital assistants can be used to improve our metacognitive capacities; when do the influences of online nudges become manipulative; how can we design AI systems to better support human autonomy are asked. She also explores the scope and limitations of intelligence, both natural and artificial – questioning whether moral machines could be built or whether current machine learning methods scale up to general intelligence.

Dr. Vold’s research has been published in leading peer-reviewed journals, including Synthese, PLoS ONE, and IEEE, as well as popular magazines, such as Aeon and VICE Motherboard. Her work has been featured by major media outlets across the world, including the BBC World News, CBC News, and ChannelNews Asia. She has given over 50+ public talks and lectures, including at the Royal Institution, the CogX Conference in London, several major tech companies and global law firms, and at the Australian Defence College

As an empirically informed philosopher, Vold’s research cuts across many different areas—including cognitive science, neuroscience, neuroethics, computer science, and the law. She has written and spoken on topics such as humanity’s future living with AI, the limits of machine intelligence, AI and data-enabled digital mental health therapy, data privacy and online manipulation, existential risks confronting humanity, brain-computer interfaces, and cognitive enhancement.

Dr. Vold is currently a Research Associate at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, a Research Fellow in the Faculty of Philosophy at University of Cambridge, and a Digital Charter Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute. In this capacity, she has advised the UK Government’s Centre for the Data Ethics and Innovation, as well as several leading tech companies, on ethical considerations around the use of AI and data-enabled technology. Vold also serves on the Program Committee for the AAAI/ACM Conference on AI, Ethics, and Society, and as an Associate Editor for the newly launched IEEE Transactions journal in Technology and Society.

Prior to her time at the University of Cambridge, Dr. Vold received a PhD from the Department of Philosophy at McGill University and an Honours BA from the University of Toronto.  She was the recipient of a SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) Doctoral Award, a Wolfe Fellowship in Science and Technology, and a Canada-UK Fellowship in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She has previously been a visiting scholar at numerous international institutions, including the Australian National University, Ruhr University, and Duke University, and a Lecturer at Carleton University and McGill University.

Speaking Topics

  • Emerging technologies; Artificial Intelligence
  • How these technologies affect our philosophy of mind
  • Humanity’s future living with AI
  • Limits of machine intelligence
  • AI and data-enabled mental health therapy
  • Data privacy and online manipulation
  • Existential risks confronting humanity
  • Cognitive enhancement

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