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Annette Zimmermann
Lecturer

Profile

Biography

Annette Zimmermann is a political philosopher working on the ethics and politics of AI and machine learning.

During 2020/21, Dr Zimmermann is a Technology and Human Rights Fellow at Harvard University.

Before joining the University of York Department of Philosophy, Dr Zimmermann was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University (2018 to 2020), with a joint appointment at the Center for Human Values and the Center for Information Technology Policy. Prior to that, Dr Zimmermann was awarded a DPhil from Nuffield College at the University of Oxford, for work focusing on contemporary analytic political and moral philosophy - in particular, democratic decision-making, justice, and risk.

Dr Zimmermann's recent research visitor positions include Yale University (2016), the Australian National University (2019) and Stanford University (2020).

Dr Zimmermann's research has been published in Philosophy and Public Affairs and her recent public writing has appeared in the New Statesman and in the Boston Review.

Departmental roles

  • Programme Leader for Philosophy and Politics
  • PEP Exceptional Circumstances Committee

Research

Overview

Beyond the philosophy of AI, Dr Zimmermann's research interests include:
  • contemporary political philosophy
  • moral philosophy (especially the ethics of risk and uncertainty)
  • the philosophy of law (punishment and the philosophy of criminal law, as well as constitutional law and discrimination law)
  • the philosophy of science (models, explanation, abstraction).

Projects

The Algorithmic is Political

AI does not exist in a moral and political vacuum. Technological models interact dynamically with the social world, including larger-scale patterns of injustice. How we deal with this problem is a moral and political choice.

Dr Zimmermann's current research explores questions like: what is algorithmic injustice, and how do its effects compound over time? What role do risk and uncertainty play in this context? What does it mean to trust AI? Whose voices should we prioritize in collective decisions about AI design and deployment - and whose voices are currently excluded? Whose rights are most at risk? How can we place AI under meaningful democratic control - and would that solve the problem of algorithmic injustice?

External activities

Memberships

  • American Philosophical Association
  • Aristotelian Society
  • Philosophy, Politics and Economics Society

Invited talks and conferences

Policy work

  • Expert consultation (invited talk) on the draft recommendations on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, Bangkok Office, UNESCO (2020)
  • Expert consultation, AI and the Future of Work, OECD (2020)
  • Expert roundtable, "Human Rights and Technology", Australian Human Rights Commission (2020)
  • Expert consultation (invited talk), AI Ethics and Healthcare, New York Presbyterian Hospital (2019)
  • Written evidence submission, "UK Public Bill Committee: Voyeurism (Offences) (No. 2) Bill, 'Upskirting'"", UK Parliament (2018)

Contact details

Dr Annette Zimmermann
Lecturer