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Policy Talks 2024: A National Convening on Ethics, Narratives, and Artificial Intelligence

We are thrilled to announce Policy Talks 2024! Some details about this event are below, but we welcome you to send us any questions you have:


Policy Talks is produced by The Center for Practical Ethics and brings together a group of academics, business leaders, legal experts, and policy makers to learn about recent industry practices, explore current academic educational and research models, and consider ethical challenges and goals.


On Friday, February 9th from 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., we will discuss this year’s topic, “When Human Narratives Meet Artificial Intelligence: Responsible Design and User Protection.” We’d love to have you be part of the conversations and to network with other participants for solutions-focused outcomes and ethically informed policy guidelines.

Please take note of the following important information:

1. We do not permit members of the press or the public to attend the event to ensure that our attendees can discuss ideas and policies candidly and without fear that they will be quoted.​ Working group conversations are "closed door," and non-invitees are not allowed to participate. 

2. Policy Talks is an invitation-only event that has limited seating, so RSVP as soon as possible. We need an accurate estimate for catering and to find an alternative if you can’t attend. But of course, we truly hope you’ll be able to join us.

3. This event is a national convening which leads to a white paper. No one is obligated or expected to be a co-author, but it is critical to the process that those invited to contribute to working groups come for the entire day. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and working with the same background information provided by the morning’s presentations and the pre-readings. Faculty, for example, should plan to cancel class.

4. Your invitation is for you alone. Please do not forward it. As an attendee, we are asking you to leverage your expertise to help us make progress on a complex topic. The only preparation we ask is that you read the list of materials at the bottom of this page. Please come ready to listen, take notes, and actively participate with other experts. We will have guided questions and other materials to facilitate discussion in the working groups. 

5. We understand that travel is expensive and that costs have risen substantially this past year. We are able to offer reimbursements for travel expenses up to $200.

6. This webpage is unlisted and cannot be accessed from any other link on our website. Please save the email you received or the URL so that you can return here as needed. Of course, we are happy to resend the link to you if you ever need it. 

There is much more information below to give you a better idea of what Policy Talks is, what is expected of participants, and who has been invited. Take a few minutes to explore the information.

Topic – When Human Narratives Meet Artificial Intelligence:
Responsible Design and User Protection

Research on Artificial Intelligence continues to advance at a rapid pace, with developments chased by a host of governments, regulatory agencies, and oversight bodies. No one is sure what the future will bring, either for the technology itself or the laws and policies that govern it. What is clear is the transformative power of AI for human experience.


Part of the trouble with prediction, regulation, and ethics in this area is that the term ‘Artificial Intelligence’ refers to a sprawling and diverse field of technology. It is not the case that every AI system is like every other. Task-respondent AI systems function differently than AI systems designed to simulate agents within teams or dynamic decision-making. Different goals yield different methods, functions, applications, and outcomes, and moral relevance and outcomes change when we consider various aspects of human-AI activity. How to design an AI system with goals such as trustworthiness in mind is one question; how doctors should make use of recommendations from AI is another. These questions differ and cannot be answered by the same moral concepts, methods, or practices.


To narrow the focus and frame our conversations, the topic for Policy Talks 2024 is “When Human Narratives Meet Artificial Intelligence: Responsible Design and User Protection.” Narratives encode and convey information among humans with an efficiency, memorability, and impact that mere propositions cannot. Narratives are powerful tools for communication and understanding, and AI systems that make use of narrative features and dynamic functions affect user psychology in powerful ways.


Our focus on narrative is not about students cheating on their creative writing papers using AI systems. It is about how some AI systems utilize narrative features and how they impact the psychology of human agents. We are familiar with algorithms on social media that can maintain and transmit narratives which strongly reinforce beliefs that desperately need to be questioned. Similarly, AI systems used in police training can support a narrative—operating below the level of a user’s conscious awareness—that has devastating consequences.


How are we to understand narratives and AI? What moral obligations do users and developers have to ensure its safe and ethical use? What guardrails ought to be in place for design and application? These are open questions that need to be answered. Policy Talks 2024 is our contribution to mapping out the moral landscape for AI, ethics, and narratives. We will examine existing policy proposals, analysis and ethical concepts from philosophy, methods and technologies from data and computer science, concepts of narrative and their features from narratology, and research from psychologists on the impact on human agents to explore answers. Join us as we examine this underexplored area of human-AI interaction, ask hard questions, and work toward practical solutions to real-world problems.


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Director, LANCSET, and Associate Professor, Dept. of Engineering Education, Virginia Tech University

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Chair and Associate Professor, Dept. of Psychology, University of Alabama in Huntsville

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Post-Graduate Fellow, Digital Society Lab, McMaster University

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Director, Science and Technology Innovation Program, Wilson Center


Working groups are the heart of Policy Talks. They are comprised of the experts we have invited in order to gain a better understanding of the context, risks, and opportunities of our topic. Each person is assigned to a working group and joins in an intimate yet vigorous discussion about the topic with fellow experts and stakeholders. A notetaker* will keep track of the ideas the group covers. The notes and ideas generated in working groups provide us with the base materials for the initial report we send to all attendees. This report serves as our launching point as we dive deeper into our investigation and draft the white paper. You can learn more about the Policy Talks process at this link.


Users and Trust

How is trust in AI systems understood, gained, used, and abused?

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Domain-Specific Insights

 Are there ways to help policymakers ensure that insights from diverse fields and industries (medicine, law enforcement, etc.) are consistently included?


Designers and Communicative Interaction

What assumptions are users and designers making about communicative interactions with AI systems?


Education and Development

How can we train budding computer scientists and engineers to build AI systems with ethical constraints in mind?


Guidance and Guardrails

What guidelines should be adopted to ensure the ethical development and adoption of AI technology for organizations or institutions?


Societal Values and Public Impact

What changes will AI bring for workers, social institutions, disadvantaged groups, etc.?

Who has been invited?

If you would like to see who else has been invited to the event, please click the button below to view the most up to date list.


We will have a variety of snacks available throughout the day including protein and granola bars, fruit, and sweets. We will also have regular and decaf coffee, hot teas, water, and sodas. 

The light breakfast will consist of fruit and pastries, and the boxed lunch options are viewable on the RSVP form.

Additionally, we will have pads and pens available to take notes. Please feel free to bring your tablet, laptop, or other electronic device so that you can take notes and access information throughout the day.

9 a.m. - Light Breakfast Available

9:30 - 10 a.m. –  Welcome and Introductions

10 - 10:30 a.m. –  Lecture 1

10:30 - 11 a.m. –  Lecture 2

11 - 11:15 a.m. –  Break

11:15 - 11:45 a.m. –  Lecture 3

11:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. –  Lecture 4

12:15 - 1:15 p.m. – Lunch

1:15 - 3:30 p.m. – Working Groups

3:30 - 4 p.m. – Closing Reception



Bryant Hall

University of Mississippi

Oxford, MS


The Inn at Ole Miss

Courtyard by Marriott

Parking on campus

We will provide parking passes to all attendees that require one. Typically, we deposit them at the Ole Miss Welcome Center, which is at the entrance to The Circle. We will send confirmed details closer to the day of the event. In the meantime, you can find more information about parking at Ole Miss and view a map of visitor parking zones by clicking here


Attendees should read the documents in the folder linked below prior to the event in order to have a common, well-rounded, and substantial background knowledge of our topic.

The documents are separated into essential and supplemental readings. Essential readings should be read in the order in which they are listed.

We hope you'll be able to join us!


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