FHI Alumni

Over the years a number of staff have participated in our work, but have now continued to other positions:

Simon Beard

Simon Beard was a Research Fellow in the Faculty of Philosophy, working on the Population Ethics: Theory and Practice project.

His research interests included the relationships between population ethics, personal identity and wellbeing as well as the value of impersonal goods such as equality. He previously studied at Oxford and the London School of Economics.

In his dissertation, he argued that the value of populations is often underdetermined by facts about the welfare level of it members, and that this undermines a group of arguments that claim to prove the impossibility of producing a satisfactory population axiology. Simon has produced research for a variety of policy organisations in the UK and ran for parliament in the 2015 general election.

Nick Beckstead

Nick is a Research Analyst at the Open Philanthropy Project where he works primarily on science policy. He earned a PhD in Philosophy from Rutgers University in 2013 and then worked as a Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute.

He is particularly interested in ethical issues related to the interests of future generations, and the impact of science and technology on future generations.

Daniel Dewey

Daniel Dewey was Research Associate with the Future of Humanity Institute.  He is now a Programme Officer at the Open Philanthropy Project where he leads their work on artificial intelligence.

His work centers on technical and policy questions related to the safety of long-term AI development, and in particular on potential risk from superintelligent AI systems and from intelligence explosion; topics of special interest include developing a precise technical understanding of intelligence explosion, sociological processes affecting technology policy and governance, and historically informed long-term strategies for significantly reducing existential risk from superintelligent AI systems.

Daniel was previously a research fellow at the Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology at the Future of Humanity Institute and Oxford Martin School, where he was funded by the Alexander Tamas Research Fellowship on Superintelligence and the Future of AI; a software engineer at Google Seattle; and a student researcher at Intel Labs Pittsburgh during his undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University.

Carl Frey

Carl Frey is Co-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Technology and Employment at the Oxford Martin School, and Economics Associate of Nuffield College, both University of Oxford.

He is also a Senior Fellow of the Programme on Employment, Equity and Growth at the Institute for New Economic Thinking in Oxford, and the Department of Economic History at Lund University. His research focuses the transition of industrial nations to digital economies, and subsequent challenges for economic growth, labour markets and urban development.

To secure impact for his research outside academia, Carl Benedikt is widely engaged in policy, advisory and media activities. In partnership with Citigroup, he works to help global leaders navigate the rapidly changing world economy. Over the course of his career, he has also worked with governments, such as the Digitalisation Commission of the Swedish Government, and acted as a Specialist Advisor to Digital Skills Select Committee at the House of Lords. He has further engaged as an external consultant to various international organisations (e.g. OECD and UN agencies) and leading corporations (e.g. Deloitte and PwC).

His work has been widely covered by the BBC, CNN, The Economist, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, New York Times, Washington Post, Der Spiegel, Scientific American, TIME Magazine, Forbes, and many others.

Rafaela Hillerbrand

Rafaela Hillerbrand’s research at FHI dealt with global catastrophic risk. Her research interests traverse epistemological problems related to the interpretations of probabilities, quantitative modelling, and foundational questions of statistical mechanics as well as ethical questions specific for decisions under risk or under uncertainty. The unifying question behind her research is the improvement of current risk assessments, with a particular focus on the unique problems of catastrophic risks.

Rafaela studied physics (with a minor in fluid mechanics) and philosophy (minor in political sciences) at the Universities of Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany) and Liverpool. She received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the former in 2003 for a work on the ethics of technology. The work covered aspects of applied ethics as well as genuine theoretical normative ethics, and was awarded the Lilli-Bechmann-Rahn-Preis in 2005. Rafaela has completed a Ph.D (2007) in Theoretical Physics at the University of Münster and the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur in Nice (France). The thesis was on hydrodynamic turbulence.

Rafaela left FHI for a Juniorprofessur at RWTH Aachen University where she was  head of the interdisciplinary research group eet-ethics for energy technology at the Human Technology Centre. She has since then left to join the Department of Values, Technology & Innovation at the Faculty of Technology, Policy & Management, TU Delft.

Seán Ó hÉigeartaigh

Seán Ó hÉigeartaigh is the Executive Director of Cambridge’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER), and is Co-I on CSER’s research projects.

Under his and Huw Price’s leadership, CSER has grown in three years to be a world-leading academic research center on extreme technological risk, and is now funded at £3M+ over 2015–18. Since 2011 he has played a central role in research on long-term AI impacts and risks, project managing the Oxford Martin Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology. He has led an active program of engagement with both policymakers and research leaders in computer science on long-term AI, both in the UK and Europe.

While at FHI, Sean also helped develop and establish the FHI-Amlin Collaboration on Systemic Risk in 2013, as well as several other research programmes, as part of a broad research and centre development portfolio. His primary research interests include: emerging technologies, risk, technology policy, horizon-scanning and foresight, expertise elicitation and aggregation, genomics, synthetic biology, evolution and artificial intelligence. He has a PhD in genomics.

Eric Mandelbaum

Eric’s interests include the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of psychology, moral psychology, and cognitive science. His work has examined issues in moral psychology (particularly focusing on people’s paradoxical responsibility judgments), the nature of beliefs (and ‘aliefs’), and belief fixation. He has also written papers on numerical modularity, the psychology of political extremism, how the advance of neuroscience will affect the law, and John Locke’s psychological theories.

Eric left FHI for a position at Yale University Departments of Philosophy and Department of Cognitive Science.

Peter McIntyre

Peter McIntyre is currently Director of Coaching at 80,000 Hours.

Peter McIntyre was Communications Coordinator at FHI, hailing from a background in clinical medicine. Peter can’t stop himself from running projects, having co-founded Effective Altruism Australia and a mobile repairs company, managed a sales team of 12 at the age of 18, organised a local Effective Altruism meetup with over 30 active members, and a conference with over 150 attendees with high-profile speakers such as Peter Singer.

Vincent C. Müller

Vincent was James Martin Research Fellow on “Future of Computing and Cognitive Systems” with the James Martin “Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology” at the Future of Humanity Institute in 2011-14. After this, he returned to his post as Full Professor of philosophy at Anatolia College/ACT, spent one year as visiting academic at Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government, and then went to the University of Leeds as “University Academic Fellow”. His research focuses on theory and ethics of disruptive technologies, particularly artificial intelligence.

His main site is at http://www.sophia.de

Rebecca Roache

Rebecca Roache’s research at the FHI centred around ethical issues in human enhancement and new technology. Topics of particular interest included human nature and the relationship between humans and other species; the extent to which human values are products of the sort of beings we are, biologically, and the extent to which our values might change if we became different sorts of beings; rationality (and the lack of it) in popular thought about risk; and the role of intuition in philosophical reasoning.

Rebecca studied Philosophy at the universities of Leeds and Cambridge, receiving a Ph.D. from the latter in 2002. She then spent three and a half years working in IT, and a short spell teaching Philosophy at the University of London, before joining the Future of Humanity Institute in 2006.

Dr Roache is currently a Research Fellow with the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics.

Nicholas Shackel

Nicholas Shackel’s research at FHI was focused on the ethics of human enchancement, with a particular interest in developing our ‘Smarter and Wiser’ program and in epistemic ethics. His philosophical research has been mainly on rationality. He has conducted research into the kinds of obligations there are to be rational in belief and in action, the relations between practical and theoretical reason, paradoxes of rational decision, philosophy of probability, intentionality, and deontic logic. More recently, he has extended his research into the areas of neuroethics and neuroepistemology. His publications include papers in the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Erkenntnis, Metaphilosophy and Mind. Prior to joining FHI he was at the Oxford Centre for the Science of the Mind, and before coming to Oxford he lectured in Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen.

Nicholas left FHI for a senior lecturer position at Cardiff University.

Peter Taylor

Peter had a DPhil from the University of Oxford in the philosophy of quantum mechanics, but turned to insurance in the City of London. There he recognized the serious problems with how people were misunderstanding cognitive bias and probability, which led to his contributions here in Oxford over the past years. He worked together with Rafael Ramirez and others to point out the limitations of a probabilistic understanding of uncertainty: if the outcome space is not well-defined, it cannot be applied, and we need more robust methods. He engaged with FHI about black swan risk, how to think about radical technology, and helped lay the foundations for the FHI-Amlin collaboration on systemic risk. Over the past few years, he was working on the Oasis loss model framework, an open source approach to catastrophe modelling. Peter passed away in November 2015, and will be remembered for his contributions to this field.

Cecilia Tilli

Cecilia Tilli was an Academic Project Manager at the Future of Humanity Institute.

She managed the Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology. Her research interests cut across core areas of the Institute, including the benefits and risks of future technology, the nature and future of computational systems, the relationship between natural and artificial cognitive systems, and the development and enhancement of natural cognition.

Prior to joining the institute, Cecilia finished her Ph.D. in philosophy and neuroscience at Princeton University. Her doctoral research focused on the cognitive architecture of the mind, in particular the plausibility and implications of dual-systems views of cognition.

Her work also evaluated the application of a dual-system framework to the study of the neural correlates of moral judgment and decision-making.

Cecilia is currently an ASI Data Science Fellow.

Feng Zhou

Feng Zhou was a Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute until March 2016.

He worked on the FHI-Amlin collaboration on systemic risk of modelling. He completed a Ph.D. in Actuarial Science (Cass Business School London) and has two MSc degrees in both Economics (at LSE) and Computer Science (at Oxford: MSc in Software and Systems Security, Cyber Security). His research interests mainly focused on applying agent-based models to better understand real-world issues (particularly, in the financial market and non-life insurance industry), such as: (1) modelling the interactive behaviours of both insurers and customers to understand market competitions; (2) modelling the bounded rationality and its related behaviour of insurance companies to understand the systemic risk in this industry.

In the longer term, Feng planned to model the interconnected risks in other complex systems, i.e.: cyberspace and potential catastrophe risks in the so-called “Internet of Things”, in order to better price the newly developed cyber insurance.