Reid Blackman

Expert in the ethics of AI. 


Thinkers50 Radar Class of 2023. 


Shortlisted for the 2023 Thinkers50 Digital Thinking Award. 


Started a fireworks company while in grad school.


In his book, Ethical Machines, Blackman tackles the complexities of AI ethics and presents a practical framework for managing the risks of AI implementation. Starting from the premise that AI is not just a topic for academic discussion but a real business necessity, he addresses the big three ethical risks of AI: bias, explainability, and privacy, and offers solutions for how to mitigate them.

Blackman’s August 2022 Harvard Business Review article with Beena Ammanath, ‘When – and Why – You Should Explain How Your AI Works,’ delves deeper into the topic of explainability, whereas his December 2022 article with Tamara Stipes, ‘The Risks of Empowering “Citizen Data Scientists”’, proposes five steps organizations should take when inviting non-data scientists in the implementation of AI.


Founder and CEO of Virtue, an AI ethical risk consultancy; volunteer chief ethics officer for the non-profit Government Blockchain Association; and advisor to the Canadian government on federal AI regulations, Blackman was also a founding member of Ernst & Young’s AI Advisory Board, and a senior advisor to the Deloitte AI Institute. His work, which includes advising and speaking to organizations including AWS, US Bank, the FBI, NASA, and the World Economic Forum, has been profiled by The Wall Street Journal, the BBC, and Forbes. Prior to founding Virtue, Blackman was a professor of philosophy at Colgate University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 


Ethical Machines: Your Concise Guide to Totally Unbiased, Transparent, and Respectful AI (HBR Press, 2022); ‘The Risks of Empowering “Citizen Data Scientists”’ (with Tamara Sipes, Harvard Business Review, 13 December 2022); ‘When – and Why – You Should Explain How Your AI Works’ (with Beena Ammanath, Harvard Business Review, 31 August 2022); ‘Why you Need an AI Ethics Committee’ (Harvard Business Review, July-August 2022).


Media picks


“Untangling the thorny topic of AI ethics.”

Stuart Crainer & Des Dearlove, Thinkers50

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