Joanna J Bryson
Greetings. I am a Reader
[tenured Associate Professor, USA] in the Department of Computer
Science at the University of
Bath. I live in Princeton, NJ, where I was a
sabbatical fellow in 2015-2016 at Princeton's
Center for Information Technology Policy and an affiliate for
the following two years. I am also doing research with the
Princeton Departments of Politics and Psychology.
At Bath I founded and for some years lead the Bath Intelligent Systems
research group. Most of my own research is done in the context
of the subgroup Artificial
Models of Natural Intelligence (AmonI). Although
I'm only working for Bath remotely and at 40% time, I still teach
and supervise dissertation
I do research in both Artificial and Natural
- Within AI, my specific research areas are action
selection and systems AI.
My current PhD students are working primarily on the
transparency of artificial intelligence in the context of
domestic robots and computer games. Transparency should
lead to greater safety and accountability, as well as improved
moral understanding of the role of AI in society.
- NI is however my first interest. I have two degrees in
the social sciences (as well as two in AI), and am currently
working primarily on cultural
variation in sociality and public goods investment. This
includes work on understanding the causality underlying the
correlation between political polarisation and income
inequality. My students and I work on a variety of
questions of human behaviour coming from the angle of
theoretical biology, and the
evolution of cognition and culture.
- These two interests cross streams in policy and AI ethics.
I first published in this field in 1998, and have become
increasingly active in it as a speaker, writer, and consulting
CV & Biography
Here is my short, industrial (2 or optionally 3 page) resumé (late 2015), and my
long, academic curriculum vitae
(early 2018). My web pages (particularly my publications page) are often more
up-to-date than my CV.
I did a reddit
Science AMA on AI and AI ethics on 13 January 2017. TechCrunch
A few takes on my biography.
Social Media, Blog, & ORCID
My main social medial presence is @j2bryson, my
(fairly) professional Twitter account, although it reflects my own
views, not any employer's. I have (and reliably curate) a
google scholar profile. I also have a blog Adventures in Natural
Intelligence, which started in 2007 mostly personal but is now
mostly professional. Posts are labelled, see in particular ai,
or perhaps academia
In the unlikely case that you are wondering which J J
Bryson I am: here, have my ORCID.
Out of Date Professional Activities
You might try checking my CV for this stuff...more likely, my
twitter stream. I'm sure it will all be mined automatically in a
couple years and / or doesn't really need to be catalogued.
See my Previous Academic Professional
Activities for older conferences, committees, etc.
- Organising or Programme Committee for Upcoming Workshops or
- Other Committees:
- Member of:
- Affiliate or Associate of:
- Informally hang with Bath's Biodiversity
Lab and evolutionary biology people more generally.
My closest collaborators are members of
AmonI (notably my students), but I work with a number of other
labs and individuals:
- Since 2008 I've been working on understanding
human sociality as illuminated by behavioural
- My work on understanding the evolution of cognition and
culture has led me to working on better understanding evolution,
plasticity and variation in general. Yifei Wang and I get help in
this from Nick
Dorus, and Sam Brown.
- From 2009-2014 I accidentally got a real roboticist for a PhD
Huang. This was a disaster, among other reasons
because we didn't have a robot. Fortunately, Yiannis
Demiris, Tony Belpaeme,
Billard had robots they let Bidan use. Aude in
particular wound up being Bidan's half supervisor, so I got to
visit her group at EPFL a lot in Lausanne, which rocks.
- In 2009-2010 I worked with Harvey
Whitehouse and his group on explaining
religion. We still talk sometimes.
- In 1986, David Gunkel
asked me for a laundry token when we both lived in the same
building in Chicago. In 2008 he asked my opinion about an
AI ethics chapter he was writing. I hated it. But
nevertheless, we collaborated for some years on AI ethics.
I also kept running into Alan Winfield
(whose position is closer to mine both spatially and morally),
and in 2017 we finally wrote something together.
- My work on social behaviour began with efforts to model the
intelligence of non-human primates. I've tried hard to get
funding to collaborate with Julia
Lehmann, and the reviewers loved our stuff, but funding
Thierry and Carel
van Schaik have also hosted me (and Thierry hosted one of
my students) for research visits and given us papers and
pointers. I also sometimes get to hang out with Robin
Dunbar and Liesbeth Sterck
and their colleagues.
- Cyril Brom
and I share an interest in helping ordinary programmers build
good AI. We both worked on action selection and with computer
games, though he has a larger group (but mine's better :-).
We've coauthored a conference paper and a white paper, and we
visit each other's universities quite frequently. Check out his
which is quite an impressive games AI / teaching platform.
Cyril's moved on, but Jakub Gemrot is one of his former students
who visited our lab, and is carrying on the AI education &
- I briefly employed Dylan
Evans and Veronica
Sundstedt to work on Cognitive Systems
Outreach. It's difficult to tell Dylan what to do, or even
to plan around him, but we still see each other.
- For the 2001-2002 academic year I was a postdoc in Marc
Neuroscience Lab, where I began working with Jonathan
Leong and Mark
Baxter. For six of the years I've been at Bath, Mark
Baxter was at Oxford in Experimental Psychology as a Wellcome
Fellow. Now he's at John Hopkins and I'm at
Princeton. I hope this doesn't mean I have to start
reading neuroscience again too; philosophy and theoretical
biology take a lot of time…
- I've done a lot of work with Kris Thórisson,
originally after he'd hired me at LEGO. We've published
together a bit, maybe we will again (see my publications.) We still
email & our students use each other's code.
- In 2004 Jim
Edwardson, then director of the Newcastle Institute for Ageing and
Health, recruited me to help advance his work on assisting
helping people with dementia. He's since retired, but his
interest in assistive environments brought me in contact with
the Bath Institute of
Medical Engineering, which turned into Designability
recently (2015) and got a big robotics grant, but now I'm not in
- I sometimes work on semantics and natural language with my
visiting research fellow, Will Lowe. We may start
working on modelling political systems soon. We have been
known to address all sorts of academic challenges
together (photo credit: Hilary Till).
- See also my former research
projects and previous
Last updated 22 July 2018