Alex John London is the Clara L. West Professor of Ethics and Philosophy and Director of the Center for Ethics and Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. An elected Fellow of the Hastings Center, Professor London’s work focuses on ethical and policy issues surrounding the development and deployment of novel technologies in medicine, biotechnology and artificial intelligence, on methodological issues in theoretical and practical ethics, and on cross-national issues of justice and fairness. Professor London’s work in ethics and AI focuses on structural obstacles to safe and effective technologies and mechanisms for ensuring social trust, accountability and non-domination. This includes work on the nature of bias in algorithms and the disconnect between technical uses of this concept and ethical benchmarks. He has critiqued requirements of explainability and interpretability in the medical context and argued instead that accountability and freedom from arbitrary interference are better served by institutions and process for validating claims about what AI systems can do, clarifying the contexts under which those claims hold and when they do not. London was a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Group on Ethics and Governance of AI whose report “Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence for Health” was published in 2021.
Areas of Expertise (2)
Media Appearances (1)
Can an algorithm prevent suicide?
“It is a critical test for these big-data systems,” said Alex John London, the director of the Center for Ethics and Policy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. “If these things have a high rate of false positives, for instance, that marks a lot of people at high risk who are not — and the stigma associated with that could be harmful indeed downstream. We need to be sure these risk flags lead to people getting better or more help, not somehow being punished.”