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Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Ava Thomas Wright recently completed a Ph.D. in Philosophy (2019) and an M.S. in Artificial Intelligence (2018) at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA.  Previously Wright had completed an M.A. in Philosophy (2010) and a J.D. (2001) at Georgia State University in Atlanta.  Wright’s most recent research brings standards of justice to bear on moral governance systems for “autonomous” artificially intelligent (AI) machine agents such as self-driving cars; in particular, Wright is interested in how such machine agents should handle ethical and legal conflicts, and dilemmas such as those in certain variations of the “trolley problem.”  In Wright’s M.S. thesis, Wright develops a deontic logic and regimented approach to answer-set programming a high-priority legal reasoner for governing such explicitly moral machines.  Wright’s other recent research flows from her Ph.D. dissertation, in which Wright interprets Kant’s theory of justice to require a constitutional legal duty of truthfulness (a “duty of veracity”) when reporting certain sensitive forms of expert scientific knowledge such as the anthropogenic sources of climate change.  Wright’s background and research interests are thus focused primarily on issues of justice in AI and social information systems.

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