IBM commits $20 million to Notre Dame to launch tech ethics lab

IBM commits $20 million to Notre Dame to launch tech ethics lab

The University of Notre Dame has announced a ten-year, $20 million commitment from IBM in support of a collaboration focused on ethical concerns raised by the use of advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, and quantum computing.

The Notre Dame-IBM Tech Ethics Lab will conduct applied research and promote models for the ethical application of technology in the tech, business, and government sector. Operating as a separate unit within the university's Technology Ethics Center (ND-TEC), the lab will serve as a convener of technology-related ethics expertise, bringing together experts from academia and industry to develop evidence-based ethics frameworks related to new and emerging technologies. The partnership will include an affiliated scholars program through which Notre Dame faculty will collaborate with academics and thought leaders from other institutions and industries on technology-related ethics questions.

"AI has tremendous potential to make our world smarter, healthier, and more prosperous, but the technology raises ethical issues that are broader and more complex than those of past transformative technologies," said IBM executive vice president John E. Kelly III. "Ethical considerations are at the heart of how IBM brings technology into the world, and we are proud to partner with Notre Dame to create the Tech Ethics Lab and elevate the role that ethics will play in the global dialogue."

"Through this partnership, we hope to develop research-based standards and practices to ensure ethical impacts of new technologies are considered throughout the entire development process," said Mark McKenna, the John P. Murphy Foundation Professor of Law at Notre Dame and founding director of ND-TEC. "Rather than following the 'ready, fire, aim' approach sometimes used in developing new technologies, we hope to provide resources that allow developers and industry to create better, more responsible technologies that positively benefit society."

(Photo credit: University of Notre Dame)