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Toni Erskine

Associate Fellow


Toni Erskine is Professor of International Politics at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Canberra, where she is also Director of Research in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Associate Director of the Australian Centre for Cyber Security, and Convenor of the International Ethics Research Group.  From July 2018, she will be Director of the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University (ANU). She received her PhD in Political Philosophy and International Relations from Trinity College, University of Cambridge, where she was a Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholar.  She was subsequently British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the Centre of International Studies, also at the University of Cambridge, and Professor of International Politics at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, where she held a Personal Chair until 2013.  She is past Chair of the International Ethics Section of the International Studies Association.

Her research interests include moral agency and responsibility in relation to both formal organisations in world politics – including states, multinational corporations, and intergovernmental organisations – and forms of artificial intelligence (AI), with a focus on sophisticated, lethal autonomous weapons.  She is particularly interested in whether artificially intelligent entities can conceivably qualify as bearers of moral responsibilities, or what she calls ‘simulated moral agents’, and, separately, whether the perception that they qualify as moral agents prompts the individual human agents who act alongside them to recalibrate their understandings of their own moral responsibilities.  Some of her current research in this area is being funded by Google as part of an Association for Pacific Rim Universities (APRU)-organised project on ‘AI for everyone’.

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