Core Team

Prof. Dr. Maximilian Kiener

Maximilian Kiener is Head of the Institute for Ethics in Technology. He specialises in moral and legal philosophy, with a particular focus on consent, responsibility, and the ethics of artificial intelligence. In addition to his professorship at TUHH, Kiener is also an Associate Member of the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Oxford, at which he was based between 2015 and 2022, and an Associate Research Fellow at The Institute for Ethics in AI at Oxford, the ERC-project Roots of Responsibility​based at UCL, and at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. His recent publications include: 

  • 2024. "Strict Moral Answerability", Ethics 134(3), 360-386.
  • 2023. "Voluntary Consent: Theory and Practice", Routledge: London/New York.
  • 2023. "The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Responsibility", Routledge: London/New York. (As Editor)
  • 2022. “Can We Close AI’s Responsibility Gap at Will?”, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 25(4), 575-593. (Winner of the 2021 CEPE IACAP Best Paper Award).
  • 2021. “Consenting under Third-Party Coercion”, The Journal of Moral Philosophy 19, 361-389.
  • 2021. “When do Nudges Undermine Voluntary Consent?”, Philosophical Studies 178(12), 4201-4226.
  • 2021. “Artificial Intelligence in Medicine and the Disclosure of Risks”, AI & Society 36(3), 705-713.

For further information, including current research projects and publications, see his personal website: http://maximilian-kiener.weebly.com 

Contact: maximilian.kiener@tuhh.de 

Dr. Jonas Bozenhard

Jonas Bozenhard is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Ethics in Technology. In 2023, he completed his DPhil (PhD) at the University of Oxford with a thesis on creativity and artificial intelligence. His research addresses issues in AI ethics, the philosophy of technology, value sensitive design, aesthetics, and AI-powered innovation. Additionally, he has experience in advising, working with, and contributing to AI-related research groups and initiatives in over five countries. He is also passionate about communicating current debates in AI ethics to wider audiences and has organised numerous educational programmes and events with leading AI researchers.

Contact: jonas.bozenhard@tuhh.de 

Dr. Imke Hofmeister

Imke Hofmeister is postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Ethics in Technology. She studied art history, modern and contemporary history and Romance philology at the University of Münster. Imke's doctoral thesis is entitled "The Appearance of German Art Museums. Corporate Design in Exhibition, Architecture and Advertising Media". Her research topics include the history of architectural styles, 19th and 21st-century art and furniture design. Currently, Imke focuses on digital art and artificial intelligence in art, providing a wider humanistic perspective to the Institute for Ethics in Technology at TUHH.

Contact: hofmeister@tuhh.de 

Dr. Oliver Schmidt

Oliver Schmidt is a postdoctoral researcher in media studies with a special focus on cultural issues. He has conducted research on the spatial theory of film, genre theory, history of Hollywood cinema, and media culture. Oliver's doctoral thesis is entitled Hybrid Spaces. Film worlds in Hollywood cinema at the turn of the millennium (german). His current research focuses on digital culture and cultural robotics. He is also co-editor of the open access online journal Rabbit Eye - Zeitschrift für Filmforschung.

Contact: oliver.schmidt@tuhh.de 

Alicia Tahmaseb

Alicia Tahmaseb is a Ph.D. student at TUHH, specialising in philosophy of technology. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Saint-Louis and obtained a M.A. in philosophy and economics at the University of Bayreuth. Her doctoral thesis is supervised by Prof. Maximilian Kiener (TUHH). Her research focus is on exploring responsible (AI) technology’s hidden and deeper political dimensions and unintended effects aiming to understand how to responsibly use these so-called 'responsible' technologies. In addition to her academic interest, Alicia works at Compass Ethics on diverse projects with teams of academics who develop practical solutions to difficult ethical problems in areas such as AI, bioethics, corporate activism, privacy, and safety.

Contact: alicia.tahmaseb@tuhh.de 

Marcus Coordes

Marcus Coordes serves as a research assistant at TUHH's Institute for Ethics in Technology and is pursuing an M.A. in Philosophy at the University of Oldenburg. His academic work focuses on the evolving dynamics of human communication in the context of artificial intelligence. Marcus recently wrote his bachelor thesis on the structural violence inherent in digital communication and is currently developing a theory on communicative action in the age of AI.

Valentin Weber

Valentin Weber is the coordinator of our project "Ethics by Design," which is funded by Hamburg Open Online University (HOOU) and which will create an online course on how ethics can be integrated into the development of AI. Valentin holds a M.A. in Ethics of Text Cultures, which is part of the Elite Network of Bavaria, and a M.A. in Literary Studies - Intermedial and Intercultural, following a Dual Bachelor's degree in German Studies and Philosophy. His research covers areas such as Literature and Science, Normative Ethics, Ethics - Culture - Text, Practical Ethics, Digital Ethics, and Applied Media Ethics, with a special focus on the Ethics of Social Media. Through his work, Valentin aims to bridge traditional ethical theories with contemporary challenges posed by digital technologies, fostering a more ethical digital environment. Currently, he is also preparing his doctoral thesis.
Contact: valentin.weber@tuhh.de.

Rudy Alexandro Garrido Veliz

Rudy Alexandro Garrido Veliz is a research assistant on the HOOU project "Ethics by Design" at the Institute for Ethics in Technology and is also currently enrolled in the M.Sc. Intelligent Adaptive Systems program at Hamburg University. Rudy earned a degree as an Engineer in Computer Science and IT from Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. Subsequently, he dedicated three years to serving as a senior software developer at a telecommunications company. Upon relocating to Germany, he pivoted to artificial intelligence, with a particular emphasis on natural language processing research, a field in which he has been active since 2021. His interests lie at the intersection of natural language-based artificial intelligence and bias and are driven by his passion for addressing problematic political stances and preventing extremism.

Associates

Prof. Dr. Thomas Douglas

Thomas (Tom) Douglas is a Distinguished Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Ethics in Technology at TUHH. Tom is Professor of Applied Philosophy and Director of Research at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford. Tom trained in clinical medicine (BMedSc MBChB, Otago) and philosophy (BA DPhil, Oxford) and works in applied and normative ethics. His research has focussed especially on the ethics of using medical and neuroscientific technologies for non-therapeutic purposes, such as cognitive enhancement, crime prevention, and infectious disease control. He is currently leading the project 'Protecting Minds: The Right to Mental Integrity and the Ethics of Arational Influence', funded by the European Research Council. Tom Douglas and Maximilian Kiener co-supervise doctoral students and promote the exchange among graduate students at Oxford and TUHH.

Dr. Lisa Forsberg

Lisa Forsberg is a Research Associate at the Institute of Ethics in Technology. Lisa is a Research Fellow in the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Faculty of Philosophy and a Fulford Junior Research Fellow, Somerville College, Oxford. Prior to this, she was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the Faculty of Law, Oxford, leading the project ‘Changing One’s Mind: Neurointerventions, Autonomy, and the Law on Consent’. Her main research interests are in moral and legal philosophy, especially normative and practical ethics and the philosophy of medical and criminal law, and include the nature and value of achievement, consent, criminal rehabilitation, what makes medical interventions morally and legally permissible, and utilitarian feminism. Lisa is also a Research Affiliate on the Legal Priorities Project, and editor for Normative and Applied Ethics for the Diversity Reading List in Philosophy.

 

Dominic McGuire

Dominic McGuire is a DPhil (PhD) student in philosophy at the University of Oxford and a Research Associate at the Institute for Ethics in Technology at TUHH. His doctoral thesis is supervised by Prof. Thomas Douglas (Oxford) and Prof. Maximilian Kiener (TUHH). His thesis examines the plausibility of different methods that have been suggested for determining the moral status of Artificial Entities, including the methods of Ethical Behaviourism (Danaher 2019) and Relationism (Coekelbergh 2010). Before pursuing the DPhil at Oxford, Dominic McGuire obtained the MSt in Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford in 2021, and prior to that he had a twenty two year career in financial services working as an investment banking director.

Dr. David Storrs-Fox

David Storrs-Fox is a Research Associate at the Institute of Ethics in Technology and an Early Career Fellow at Oxford's Institute for Ethics in AI. David holds a PhD in Philosophy from New York University and a BPhil in Philosophy from the University of Oxford. He specialises in moral philosophy, metaphysics and the philosophy of action. David's recent research is tied together by one big idea: that there is nothing whatsoever that agents in our world (including us) are infallibly able to do, no realm of actions insulated from the risk of failure. He argues that this idea has important, and underappreciated, implications for theorising about action and ethics. His current research brings the big idea to bear on AI and group agency. His website can be found at davidstorrsfox.com.

Dr. Alice Cavolo

Alice Cavolo is a Research Associate at the Institute of Ethics in Technology. Alice holds a master in philosophy (Universitá degli studi di Trento) and one in Bioethics (KU Leuven). In May 2022, she completed a PhD at KU Leuven, for which she was the recipient of a FWO fellowship. Her dissertation focused on the ethical aspects of the decision-making for resuscitation of extremely preterm infants. She is currently investigating the future trial and implementation of artificial placenta technologies for preterm infants at the Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine (University of Zurich). Alice's research interests also include further aspects in clinical ethics, neonatal ethics, ethics in pediatrics, ethical decision-making, shared decision-making, impact of technology in neonatology, new reproductive technologies

Dr. Juan-Pablo Bermúdez

Juan-Pablo Bermúdez is a Research Associate at the Institute of Ethics in Technology, Postdoctoral Researcher in the Philosophy of Human-Computer Interaction at Imperial College London, and researcher-lecturer at Externado de Colombia University, where he leads the Self-Control in Context project. He works at the intersection between the philosophy of mind and the ethics of technology. His work currently focuses on creating tools that enable the design of autonomy-supportive artificial intelligence, as well as understanding the link between self-control and poverty in the Global South. For more information, visit his personal website: https://www.juanpablobermudez.com/

Emily Elstub

Emily Elstub is a Research Associate at the Institute for Ethics in Technology at TUHH, a PhD student in philosophy at the University of Cambridge, and an Associate at Principia Advisory. Her doctoral thesis, supervised by Dr Stephen Cave, Director of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, and Dr Claire Benn, examines the scope of the right to freedom of thought, and the implications of this for the governance of emerging technologies. Emily is also a Student Fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence. Prior to commencing her PhD, Emily obtained an MA in Applied Ethics from Utrecht University and a BA in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Oxford.

Dr. Thomas Mitchell

Thomas Mitchell is a Research Associate at the Institute of Ethics in Technology and Research Fellow in the Ethics of Persuasive Digital Technologies at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. His PhD thesis focused on the philosophy of trust and trustworthiness and he is currently researching the methods and ethics of influencing people online. At the Uehiro Centre, he works with Professor Thomas Douglas on his project, ‘Protecting Minds: The Right to Mental Integrity and the Ethics of Arational Influence'. Of particular interest are the uses of data-gathering and algorithms to precisely target audiences to sell products and gain votes and the role of social media in deciding what (mis)information online users are shown. He also hopes to explore how the trustworthiness of technologies capable of making their own decisions can be improved.

Sanaa Abrahams

Sanaa Abrahams is a Research Associate at the Institute for Ethics in Technology at TUHH and is currently a PhD candidate at Radboud University. Her research interests include moral and political philosophy, with an emphasis on bioethics and the ethics of medical AI. She holds Master’s Degrees in philosophy from Rhodes University and the University of Virginia.

Dr. Gary O'Brien

Gary O’Brien is a Research Associate at the Institute of Ethics in Technology, Research Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Lingnan University, and a fellow of the Hong Kong Catastrophic Risk Centre. His work is primarily in applied ethics, especially population ethics, animal and environmental ethics, and the ethics of new technology. He also has interests in procreative ethics, longtermism, and the ethics of catastrophic and existential risks. He completed the DPhil at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford, and prior to that he completed the BPhil at Oxford and an MA and BA at University College Dublin. For more information on his research, publications, and teaching, see his personal website: https://www.garyobrienphilosophy.com

Nicholas Barrow

Nicholas (Nick) Barrow is a Research Associate at the Institute of Ethics in Technology. Nick is a Moral Philosopher who specialises in the Value of Consciousness and its intersection with both the Philosophy of Technology and the Philosophy of Well-Being. He most recently worked with Patrick Haggard at UCL on the ethics of haptic technology and, before that, with Tania Duarte and Kanta Dihal on the We and AI and University of Cambridge research project BetterImagesOfAI. As Artificial Intelligence Scholar, he achieved his masters in the Philosophy of AI from the University of York (supervised by Prof. Annette Zimmermann), having previously completed his first-class undergraduate degree in Philosophy from the University of Kent.