Joanna Bryson

Location: Berlin, Germany

Joanna Joy Bryson is a professor of ethics and technology at the Hertie School of Government in Berlin. A globally recognized leader and expert in artificial intelligence, her focus areas include behavioral ecology, AI ethics, AI systems, and technology policy.

Joanna’s present research focuses on the impact of technology on economies and human cooperation, transparency for and through AI systems, interference in democratic regulation, and the future of labor, society, and digital governance more broadly. She frequently consults on policy for the U.K. Parliament, Royal Society, Research Councils U.K., and the Financial Conduct Authority. Joanna also consults for the European Union, the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, the Red Cross, Chatham House, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the World Economic Forum, the United Nations, national governments, and NGOs in Switzerland, the U.S., Canada, and Germany.

Joanna’s original academic focus was the natural sciences, using artificial intelligence for scientific simulations of natural cognitive systems. During her doctorate, she first observed the confusion generated by anthropomorphized AI, which led to her first ethics publication, Just Another Artifact, in 1998. 

The first time a policy body recognized Joanna for her work in AI ethics was in 2010 when the U.K. Research Council invited her to participate in its Robot Ethics retreat. There, Joanna was a key author of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council/Arts and Humanities Research Council’s, Principles of Robotics, the world’s first national-level soft policy on AI ethics. 

Joanna currently co-chairs the governance committee for the Global Partnership of AI, to which Germany nominated her as an expert. From 2002 to 2019, she was computer science faculty at the University of Bath, where she founded and led their AI research group. She also held postdoctoral, sabbatical, or visiting positions at Harvard in psychology; Oxford in anthropology; Nottingham and Mannheim in social science research, The Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research, and the Princeton Center for Information Technology Policy.

Joanna has a Bachelor of Arts in behavioral science from The College of the University of Chicago. She has a Master of Philosophy in psychology, and Master of Science in AI from the University of Edinburgh, and a doctorate in computer science from MIT. She also has multiple awards and affiliations.