About Us

London-based think tank: a public policy research institute

We research the future of progressively intelligent computing and its disruptive effects on economy and society.

Our reports inform policy makers and the public on disruptive computing technology and on effective methods of managing its risks.

Our Charter
  • Finance: Disrupted

    How will AI disrupt algotrading? — How are Ultrafast Extreme Events changing stock trading? — How likely are further Flash Crashes? — How will blockchain tech affect financial services? — How much will growth in robotics disrupt the economy?

  • Blockchain

    Will cryptocoins replace traditional currencies? — What will be the value of bitcoin in 2025? — Will banks and stock markets use blockchain to record transactions quickly? Will cryptocoins replace traditional currencies? — Will Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) overtake crowdfunding?

  • Employment: Disrupted

    Will AI increase or reduce unemployment? — Oxford Martin School: "47% of the total US employment is at risk" — Deloitte: "automation will cut 39% of jobs in the legal sector in the next 2 decades"

  • Killer Robots

    Will Autonomous Lethal Robots increase or reduce casualties? — How will international law deal with killer robots? — Who should be held accountable for war crimes committed by killer robots? — The Center for a New American Security: "Increased autonomy in the use of force raises the dangerous specter of 'flash wars' initiated by autonomous systems interacting on the battlefield in ways that may be unpredictable."

  • Cyberwarfare

    In Operation Orchard, Israeli fighter jets bombed a Syrian nuclear reactor without any resistance. The reason: malicious software blinded the defence systems by displaying false targets. — Will an unintentional escalation lead to full-blown cyber war? — How can such escalation be prevented? — How the law of state responsibility applies to the use of proxies in cyber operations? — Talinn Manual: "Existing legal interpretations leaves state behaviour in cyberspace susceptible to both over- and underreaction in the event of cyber conflict"

  • AI Risks

    Will computers ever rival human's intelligence? — If so, what is the likelihood of human-level AI by 2045? — Is artificial superintelligence likely? — Is it dangerous? — How can an AI Arms Race be avoided?

Board

Vic Callaghan

Emeritus Professor of Computer Science, Essex; President, AAIE; director, Creative Science Foundation

Vic Callaghan

Emeritus Professor of Computer Science, Essex; President, AAIE; director, Creative Science Foundation

Victor Callaghan is an emeritus professor of computer science at Essex University, deputy director of the Digital Lifestyles Centre, member of the Intelligent Environments Group, and the director of the Creative Science Foundation and President of the Association for the Advancement of Intelligent Environments. Vic is a founder of the international annual IEEE sponsored conference Intelligent Environments. He has authored over 300 papers in international journals, conferences and books plus and acted as principal investigator on numerous international research projects attracting over 6 million pounds in funding. Vic lectured in Electronics at Sheffield University and University College Cardiff before becoming a lecturer in Computer Science at Essex University, where he used his expertise in working across the intersection of electronics and software to establish two world leading research groups: the Essex University mobile robotics group and the Intelligent Environments group. Vic’s contributions include a methodology to determine the real-time dynamic complexity of embedded software; the first application of microprocessors to social science research; a novel real-time self-programming algorithm for robot control, the world’s first network camera, a novel immerse education desk derived from Science Fiction Prototyping he helped pioneer with Intel, and facilitating the first town in Europe on the World-Wide-Web. Vic's BEng studies at Sheffield University were financed by the A&AEE establishment, and his PhD in Software Engineering was funded by an Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC).

Jack Copeland

Professor of Philosophy, University of Canterbury; Director, Turing Archive

Jack Copeland

Professor of Philosophy, University of Canterbury; Director, Turing Archive

Jack Copeland FRS NZ is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, where he is Director of the Turing Archive for the History of Computing. He is also Honorary Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of Queensland, Australia, and in 2012 was Royden B. Davis Visiting Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies in the Department of Psychology at Georgetown University, Washington DC. His books include The Essential Turing (Oxford University Press), Colossus: The Secrets of Bletchley Park’s Codebreaking Computers (Oxford University Press), Alan Turing’s Electronic Brain (Oxford University Press), Computability: Turing, Gödel, Church, and Beyond (MIT Press), Logic and Reality (Oxford University Press), and Artificial Intelligence (Blackwell); and he has published more than 100 articles on the philosophy and history of computing, and mathematical and philosophical logic. Jack is recognised as a leading authority on Turing's work, and in June of 2004, the 50th anniversary of Turing’s death, he delivered the first annual Turing Memorial Lecture at Bletchley Park National Museum and lectured on Turing’s life and work at the Royal Institution of London. Jack received the Scientific American Sci/Tech Web Award for his on-line archive www.AlanTuring.net. A Londoner by birth, Jack earned a B.Phil. with Distinction from the University of Oxford followed by a D.Phil. in mathematical logic, taught by Turing's student and friend Robin Gandy. Jack has been a visiting scholar at the University of California at Los Angeles, a visiting professor at the universities of Sydney, Aarhus, Melbourne, and Portsmouth, and a senior fellow of the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a past president of the U.S.-based Society for Machines and Mentality and is the founding editor of the Rutherford Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology.

Amnon H. Eden

Principal, Sapience Project; Computer Scientist, Science Advisor

Amnon H. Eden

Principal, Sapience Project; Computer Scientist, Science Advisor

Dr Amnon H. Eden is the Principal Scientist of Sapience. Amnon received a Master in Computer Science (Machine Learning; Cum Laude) and a Doctorate in Computer Science (Software Engineering) from Tel Aviv University. He's held posts in Israel Institute of Technology--Technion, Tel Aviv University, Uppsala University, and Concordia University; fellowships at the Center For Inquiry and the Institute of Advanced Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and served as the director of undergraduate studies at the University of Essex. Amnon's work is concerned with the application of disruptive technologies and original thought to interdisciplinary questions in the theory and practice of software design and artificial intelligence. His original work on design pattern formalization and software modelling appeared in his book Codecharts and in three of the highest ranking outlets in Google Scholar's Top Publications--Software Systems. He co-authored the first entry on the Philosophy of Computer Science in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and his research in singularity hypotheses led to the publication of the first peer-reviewed comprehensive volume on the subject.

James H. Moor

Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy, Dartmouth College

James H. Moor

Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy, Dartmouth College

James H. Moor (Jim) is the Daniel P. Stone Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy at Dartmouth College. Jim chaired the Philosophy Department in Dartmouth College and the American Philosophical Association Committee on Philosophy and Computers. Jim was President of Society for Machines and Mentality, President of Northern New England Philosophical Association, the editor-in-chief of Minds and Machines (a peer-reviewed academic journal), and a Member of National Academies Committee sponsored by DARPA. In 2003 Jim was awarded SIGCAS Making a Difference Award and in 2006 the Barwise Prize. Jim earned his Ph.D. in 1972 from Indiana University. Moor's 1985 paper entitled "What is Computer Ethics?" established him as one of the pioneering theoreticians in the field of computer ethics. Jim has written extensively on the Turing Test. Jim's research includes study in philosophy of artificial intelligence, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and logic. Jim has published several books, including Cyberphilosophy: The Intersection of Computing and Philosophy (Oxford 2002), Nanoethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Nanotechnology (Wiley 2007), and The Logic Book (6th Edition, McGraw-Hill 2013), as well as the entry on Machine Intelligence in the Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2nd edition, McMillan 2013).

David Pearce

Philosopher; Owner, BLTC Research

David Pearce

Philosopher; Owner, BLTC Research

David Pearce is a British philosopher, owner of BLTC Research, and a fellow with the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. David is known as the co-founder of the World Transhumanist Association (subsequently renamed to Humanity+) with fellow philosopher Nick Bostrom, a nonprofit organisation that advocates transhumanism: an international cultural and intellectual movement whose goal is to improve the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities. David's work describes how genetic engineering, nanotechnology, pharmacology, and neurosurgery could potentially converge towards a bio-intelligence explosion: a transhumanist singularity. David's philosophy has inspired a strain of transhumanism based on a strong ethical imperative for humans to work towards the abolition of suffering of all sentient life, ultimately for humanity's own benefit ('the hedonistic imperative'). David is a public speaker who's given talks at the University of Oxford, Lund University, Harvard University, and Stanford University. His work has been covered by BBC Radio, Vanity Fair, The Daily Telegraph, The Economist, and H+ Magazine.

Steve Phelps

Lecturer in Computational Finance, Kings College London; co-founder, Ripple Software Ltd., Victria Ltd

Steve Phelps

Lecturer in Computational Finance, Kings College London; co-founder, Ripple Software Ltd., Victria Ltd

Dr Steve Phelps is a Lecturer in Computational Finance at the Agents and Intelligent Systems group in Kings College London and the co-founder of Ripple Software Ltd., which developed econometric analysis tools for power-sellers, and of Victria Ltd, which delivered a prototype dark-pool trading platform. Steve research stems from the realization that the financial markets present a unique opportunity for studying complex-adaptive systems with the recent availability of high-frequency tick-data which records every transaction in the market, and can run to many billions of events per exchange per annum. His work uses agent-based modelling to understand real-world complex-adaptive systems which are composed of interacting autonomous agents, specifically questions which pervade the biological and social sciences, as well as many areas of engineering and computing. His key research question is how, and if, these systems maintain macroscopic homeostatic behaviour despite the fact that their constituent agents often face an incentive to disrupt the rest of the system for their own gain. Steve is also interested in developing methods for using these big data sets to systematically calibrate agent-based simulation models, in order to try and better understand the role of learning and adaptation in explaining some of the phenomena that are observed in empirical financial time-series data, which cannot be accounted-for by the classical theoretical models in this field. Steve has commercial experience of the electronic-commerce and financial sectors, having worked for a number of SMEs and Blue-chip companies.

Anders Sandberg

Research fellow, Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford; senior researcher, FHI-Amlin collaboration (risk modelling)

Anders Sandberg

Research fellow, Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford; senior researcher, FHI-Amlin collaboration (risk modelling)

Dr Anders Sandberg is a research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford university, senior researcher in the FHI-Amlin collaboration on systemic risk of risk modelling, research associate to the Oxford Martin Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology, research associate to the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, and co-founder and writer for the think tank Eudoxa. Anders is on the advisory boards of a number of organisations and often debates science and ethics in international media. His research centres on future technologies, neuroethics and public policy, existential risks, cognitive enhancement, societal and ethical issues surrounding enhancement, and very long-range futures. Anders has worked on these within the EU project ENHANCE. Besides scientific publications in neuroscience, ethics, and future studies, he has also participated in the public debate about human enhancement internationally. Anders also held an AXA Research Fellowship. Anders obtained his Ph.D. in computational neuroscience from Stockholm University, Sweden, for work on neural network modelling of human memory.

Reports

Reports published by our think tank

Unethical Research: How to Create a Malevolent Artificial Intelligence

Sapience Technical Report STR 2016-03 Author: Roman V. Yampolskiy Cybersecurity research involves publishing papers about malicious exploits as much as publishing information on how to design tools to protect cyber-infrastructure. It is this information exchange between ethical hackers and security experts, which results in a well-balanced cyber-ecosystem. In the blooming domain of AI Safety Engineering, hundreds of papers have been published on different proposals geared at the creation of a safe machine, yet nothing, to our knowledge, has been published on how to design a malevolent machine.

Energetics of the Brain and AI

Sapience Technical Report STR 2016-02 Author: Anders Sandberg Does the energy requirements for the human brain give energy constraints that give reason to doubt the feasibility of artificial intelligence? In Energetics of the Brain & AI I review some relevant estimates of brain bioenergetics and analyze some of the methods of estimating brain emulation energy requirements.

The Singularity Controversy, Part I

Sapience Technical Report STR 2016-1 Author: Amnon H. Eden ‘The Singularity Controversy, Part I: Lessons Learned and Open Questions: Conclusions from the Battle on the Legitimacy of the Debate‘ informs policy makers on the nature and the merit of the arguments for and against the concerns associated with a potential technological singularity. Part I describes the lessons learned from our investigation of the subject, separating the arguments of merit from the fallacies and misconceptions that confuse the debate and undermine its rational resolution.

Publications

Books and articles by fellows of Sapience Project

The Essential Turing

B. Jack Copeland (ed., chapters author). Oxford University Press 2006

What Is Computer Ethics?

James H. Moor, “What Is Computer Ethics?” Metaphilosophy 16(4):266 – 275 (Oct. 1985)

The Biointelligence Explosion

David Pearce. In: Eden, Soeraker, Moor, Steinhart (eds.), Singularity Hypotheses, Springer 2013, pp. 199-236

Our Team

Tony was a lawyer for 17 years, leaving the profession and going into property development in the UK and Spain and developing his marketing skills. When the 1990 recession hit, he moved into training and spent 10 years with the world famous Dale Carnegie Organisation, instructing most of their programmes and managing Essex and East London. 18 years ago, he set up a successful, award winning, outsourcing business mainly aimed at the construction sector and providing training management, health and safety and e-Learning services. During this time he also worked with a US company delivering high-level Negotiating training across Europe and beyond.

Tony WillsonManaging Director

Dr Amnon H. Eden (MSc Cum Laude Computer Science-Machine Learning; PhD Computer Science-Software Engineering, Tel Aviv University) is the Principal Scientist and co-founder of Sapience Project thinktank. Amnon held posts in Tel Aviv University, Israel Institute of Technology--Technion, Uppsala University, Concordia University, and the University of Essex, and fellowships at the Center For Inquiry and the Institute of Advanced Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2015 Amnon left his lectureship position to start Sapience Project.

Amnon H. EdenPrincipal Scientist