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The Ethics of AI and Data in Higher Education

The Association of African Universities (AAU), the University of Nottingham, and the Ethical Data Initiative are pleased to invite you to a panel discussion exploring The Ethics of AI and Data in Higher Education. The online event is part of a week-long celebration of Africa Universities’ Day, marking 56 years of the AAU’s service to Africa’s higher education sector.

This year’s Africa Universities’ Day theme is Artificial Intelligence in African Higher Education Institutions. With the increasing pace of technological development and the growing cross-sectoral importance of AI and data, this year’s topic fittingly centres around how these developments (IoT, AR, VR, language processing…) impact teaching, learning, research, collaboration, ethics, privacy, and administrative functions of African Higher Education Institutions.

The online panel discussion, which will be held on the 10 November 2023, will delve into how the exponential rise in technological development has impacted the education sector and the ethical considerations that need to be taken into account as a result. The panel of experts will consider the role of AI and other emerging and quickly developing technologies in higher education and research, and what challenges this raises for policy makers, educators, researchers and students: Including the importance of covering ethics in education generally.


Bernd Carsten Stahl is Professor of Critical Research in Technology at the School of Computer Science of the University of Nottingham. His interests cover philosophical issues arising from the intersections of business, technology, and information. This includes ethical questions of current and emerging of ICTs, critical approaches to information systems and issues related to responsible research and innovation.

Damian Okaibedi Eke is a Transitional Assistant Professor at the School of Computer Science, University of Nottingham. His research interests cover critical philosophical issues around Technology, Data and Society including but not limited to: Responsible Data Governance, Ethics of Emerging Technologies, Responsible Innovation and ICT4D. He has special interests in Responsible Innovation in and for African societies.

Deborah Kanubala is the co-organizer of the WiMLDS Accra-Ghana chapter and the co-founder of WPSYG. She is an ML Researcher at Saarland University in Germany, focusing on developing fair machine learning models. She has a research interest in causality and AI Ethics.

Prior to her current role, Deborah worked as an NLP Engineer at Proto in Canada and lectured at Academic City University in Ghana. She has been a recipient of several grants and scholarships, including the Mastercard Foundation Scholar grant and the Alumnode Project grant, among others. In 2019, she was recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential People in STEM. For more details, visit: https://kanubalad.github.io/

Emma Ruttkamp-Bloem is a philosopher of science and technology, an AI ethics policy advisor, and a machine ethics researcher. Currently, she is the Head of the Department of Philosophy, University of Pretoria, leads the AI ethics group at the South African Centre for AI Research (CAIR), and chairs the Southern African Conference on AI Research (SACAIR). 

She is the current Chairperson of the UNESCO World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST). Emma led the UNESCO Ad Hoc Expert Group that prepared the draft of the 2021 UNESCO Recommendation on the Ethics of AI and contributed to development of its implementation instruments. 

She is a member of the Global Academic Network, Centre for AI and Digital Policy, Washington DC and has worked in projects related to AI ethics with the African Union Development Agency (AUDA)-NEPAD and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR). 

Emma is a member of the newly convened UN Secretary General’s AI Advisory Body. She also has membership of various other international AI ethics advisory boards (e.g., WASP-HS, SAP SE) and consults widely in the private sector on the ethics of emerging technologies.

Moderator: Kathryn Bailey, Communications, Operations, Policy and Partnerships, Ethical Data Initiative

The digital revolution has transformed the way we live, solving many issues and leading to better decision-making; it has also given rise to numerous questions and challenges which, of course, affect everyone. Africa certainly has not been left behind in this data revolution – which affects all of us, though perhaps not all in the same way – but we do all need to be aware of how our data is being used and stored, what our responsibilities are and how regional and international legislation affects us.

To this end, the three organisations have begun the Campaign for Data Ethics in Education, to advocate for the inclusion of data ethics in all data science and research-based higher education courses, to train the next generation of data and research professionals about their legal and ethical responsibilities surrounding the use, reuse and sharing of data.

Contact us to find out more, including how you can get involved.

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