Duncan Purves, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Philosophy

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

2023 Awardee

Duncan Purves is an emerging leader in the ethics of technology and artificial intelligence, publishing extensively on a range of applied ethics topics, particularly artificial intelligence.

In 2019, Purves organized the highly successful UF conference Promise and Problems in Emerging Technology: Shaping the Societal Impact of Artificial Intelligence. The conference brought together national and international experts in law, engineering, medicine and philosophy.

“The conference was a turning point for the department,” said John Palmer, chair of the philosophy department. “It put us on the map as a leader in the field of AI ethics.”

Purves’s work on the ethics of artificial intelligence led to his being awarded a $509,000 National Science Foundation grant for a three-year project that aims to explore the ethics behind crime forecast technology, a series of algorithms that tell police where crime is most likely based on past data. According to the project’s website, these procedures have been criticized for reinforcing racial bias and placing an unfair burden on marginalized communities.

Purves’s research is at the leading edge of shaping sensible responses to some of the ethical challenges artificial intelligence applications pose for our society. His published work in the Ethics of Technology and Artificial Intelligence and presentations of his work at national and international conferences have all combined to make Purves a key figure in a high-demand area.

“Duncan is a brilliant thinker who is able to bring together insights from philosophy, law, and engineering to address some of the most pressing ethical issues of our time,” Palmer said. “His work is making a real difference in the world, and I have no doubt that he will continue to be a major force in the field for years to come.”