Ori Freiman, Ph.d.

AI Ethics | Trust in Technology | Technology Policy

I'm a post-doctoral fellow at the Ethics of AI Lab, at the University of Toronto's Centre for Ethics. My interests range from political and epistemological questions which regard AI governance and regulation, to practical implementation of ethical principles. I currently focus on two lines of research: one is on the concept of trust in the context of a 'trustworthy AI' and its relation to ethical principles, self-regulation practices, and policy-making. The second is on the topic of central bank digital currency (CBDC). I focus on how different technical choices and monetary functions can result in various social consequences and raise ethical concerns. In addition to my current academic research, I'm vastly interested in how cryptocurrencies and fintech shape and are shaped by traditional financial institutions and geopolitics.

My formal background is in Analytic Philosophy and in Information Studies. I submitted my thesis, The Role of Knowledge in the Formation of Trust in Technologies, to the Graduate Program in Science, Technology and Society at Bar-Ilan University. The dissertation deals with trust in two emerging technologies: conversational AIs - emphasizing interpersonal trust and anthropomorphism in human-machine relations, and blockchain networks - which mostly regards trust as the outcome of a reliable technical architecture with social governing mechanisms. I explored different perspectives of trust and the role of one’s knowledge in its formation.


April 2022:

March 2022:

  • Judge for the Moral Code Hackathon (organized by The University of Toronto's chapter of Engineers Without Borders).

February 2022:

January 2022:

I present what central bank digital currency (CBDC) is and how this new currency is different from the digital digits we see in credit card statements and bank accounts. First, I discuss the significant benefits of implementing CBDC and share some of the open technical decisions that designers of the system face. Afterwards, I focus on its development and implementation motivations - innovation from the fintech sector, and risk and competition from decentralized cryptocurrencies, centralized stablecoins, and currencies of other nations. Finally, I identify six categories of ethical concerns related to CBDC. My main argument is that using data from such a system leaves the door open for authorities to influence social norms through surveilling and controlling financial activities. Therefore, even in liberal democracies, giving up on financial privacy - the ability to trade without any third party involved - not only leads to the loss of anonymity but also to a constant risk of losing freedom.

December 2021:

November 2021:

  • Presented my working paper Ethical and Epistemological Roles of AI in Collective Epistemology at the Ethics of Technology Early-Career Group.

October 2021:

September 2021:

  • Launched this website.

  • Began my post-doctoral fellowship in the Ethics of AI Lab at the University of Toronto's Centre for Ethics.