Emma Ruttkamp-Bloem

Prof. Emma Ruttkamp-Bloem











Outline biography:

Emma Ruttkamp-Bloem is professor and head of the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria. She is the leader of the ethics of artificial intelligence research group at the Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research (CAIR) in South Africa.


In her capacity as an AI ethics policy researcher, Prof Ruttkamp-Bloem is a member of the AUDA-NEPAD Consultative Roundtable on Ethics in Africa and a current member of the UNESCO World Commission for Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST). She was the chairperson of the Bureau of the UNESCO Ad Hoc Expert Group (AHEG) on the ethics of artificial intelligence tasked to prepare a recommendation for a global instrument on the ethics of AI by September 2020. She is a member of the advisory board of the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (Human Sciences) in Sweden and of the advisory board of the Global AI Ethics Institute.


Prof Ruttkamp-Bloem is a corresponding member of the International Academy for the Philosophy of Science. She has been the elected South African representative at the International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IUHPST) since 2014. She is a member of the editorial board of Springer’s respected Synthese Library Book Series and the editorial board of Acta Baltica: Historiae et Philosophiae Scientiarum, an open access journal on the history and philosophy of natural and social sciences, published by the Baltic Association of the History and Philosophy of Science.


She is a member of the bidding committee for the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa and co-chair of the Steering Committee for the Southern African Conference for AI Research. She is the founder of the CAIR/UP ‘Artificial Intelligence for Society’ Symposium Series and the ‘South African Philosophy of Science and Logic’ Colloquium Series.


She has a PhD in Philosophy in the domains of mathematical logic and the philosophy of science. Her thesis focused on formulating a realist analysis of the structure of scientific theories with the help of mathematical model theory. Currently, her research focuses on the ethics of artificial intelligence and issues in the intersection between the scientific realism debate and the debate on the structure of scientific theories in the philosophy of science. In the ethics of artificial intelligence, she works on themes in the philosophy of technology relating to human-technology relations, and themes in machine ethics, the ethics of social robotics, and data ethics. In the context of policy making, her research focuses on generating culturally sensitive policies for trustworthy AI technologies while aiming for global regulation. In the philosophy of science, her work is centred on debates in scientific realism, the structure of scientific theories, and the status of machine learning-based methodologies in the discovery/justification debate in the philosophy of science. Her research in both the ethics of artificial intelligence and the philosophy of science includes application of non-classical logics to selected problems in these sub-disciplines of philosophy.

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