At the Digital Ethics Lab we tackle the ethical challenges posed by digital innovation. We help design a better information society: open, pluralistic, tolerant, equitable, and just. Our goal is to identify the benefits and enhance the positive opportunities of digital innovation as a force for good, and avoid or mitigate its risks and shortcomings.

Our work builds on Oxford’s world leading expertise in conceptual design, horizon scanning, foresight analysis, and translational research on ethics, governance, and policy making. As part of the Oxford Internet Institute, we are a multidisciplinary research group. We draw from AI, anthropology, biomedical ethics, computer science, cybersecurity, data science, economics, epistemology, ethics, ethnography, formal logic, information theory, Internet studies, law, philosophy, political science, and sociology.

We know that ethics deeply affects the development of technology, science, politics, law, business, and, ultimately, every aspect of society. This is true especially in digital contexts, where transformations are rapid and disruptive, and tend to have profound and widespread ethical consequences, with direct and daily impact on millions of lives.

We understand that the ethical challenges posed by digital technologies are becoming pressing everywhere. The world is quickly and irreversibly moving towards increased monitoring of ethical behaviours, such as ESG (environmental, social, and governance) scores and ELSI (ethical, legal, and social impact) analyses. For example, most of the value of companies is now ethics-dependent, in terms of intangible assets such as intellectual property, trust, and reputation. Clearly, ethical mistakes are increasingly costly and visible. And because digital innovation has wide reach and immediate impact, the negative consequences of suboptimal decisions or policies may be hard to reverse, especially when confidence and trust are undermined.

We believe that technology can and must help solve social and environmental problems. The natural, social, and artificial worlds can foster each other. We consider digital ethics to be both humanistic and ecological.

This is why we seek to interact with interested parties and stakeholders from all sectors and internationally, to identify the ethical opportunities, challenges, and risks presented by the digital world, and to provide independent research, advice, solutions, and strategic options to deal with them successfully.

To this end, we develop innovative, foundational studies and offer relevant expertise, thought-leadership, and translational research on a broad range of key areas in digital ethics, including automation, algorithms, artificial intelligence, big data, cyberconflicts, data governance, data science, digital platforms, e-commerce, e-governance, e-health, information quality, Internet of Things, machine learning, personal data, persuasive technologies, privacy, protocols, robotics, security, social media, surveillance, and virtual or augmented reality.

We believe in collaboration. We trust in human intelligence. We have faith in good will. If you wish to know more about our activities or are interested in joining us, please get in touch. There is never enough brain power.