Full Name
Steven Kelts
Job Title
Professor and AI Ethicist
Princeton University, School of Public and International Affairs
Speaker Bio
Steven Kelts is a Lecturer in Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs, and is affiliated with the University Center for Human Values (UCHV). He is also an ethics advisor to the Responsible A.I. Institute. He has recently published on the special nature of today’s tech firms and their potential for ethical action in a special issue of Technology and Society Magazine (peer-reviewed). He has also published with IEEE on the role of social responsibility in tech corporations in the proceedings of the International Symposium on Technology and Society 2021 (peer reviewed).

He is the recipient of a grant from the Council on Science and Technology for a program called “Agile Ethics,” teaching undergraduate CS and Engineering majors how to consider ethical issues within their professional workflows. He also received a seed grant from Google to apply findings from this program in corporate environments, looking specifically at the uses and misuses of utilitarian logic by engineers on Agile teams (incl. Scrum, Kanban, MLOps, etc.). Kelts has published a recent review in Teaching Philosophy about instruction in tech ethics. His teaching on tech ethics has been recognized nationally.

At Princeton, Professor Kelts leads the GradFutures initiative on Ethics of AI for the Graduate School, with the objective of encouraging Ph.D. candidates to apply their disciplinary expertise in the field of tech ethics. The program has sent participants on to employment at Google, DeepMind, Meta, and other leading tech companies; former participants also work on the issue at some of America’s leading research universities. For this work, he was presented with the Clio Hall Award for significant contributions to the professional development of Princeton graduate students by the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School in May 2022. In the summer of 2022 he was co-convenor (with Professor S.J. Brison of Dartmouth) of a workshop on Ethics and Information Technology, which brought together scholars from around the U.S. with responsible innovation professionals from Google and Meta, as well as a group of Dartmouth undergraduates.

Professor Kelts is dedicated to first-gen and low-income student success. He has been lead investigator on a UCHV-funded project looking at strategies to encourage FGLI student success at institutions beyond the Ivy League, and the ethical obligation of faculty to adopt proven teaching methods. For four years he was part of a team designing the curriculum for Princeton’s nationally-recognized FGLI program, the Freshman Scholars Institute. He recently published a review in Teaching Philosophy on pedagogy for first-gen students.

In 2020, Kelts banded together with former students at Princeton to found Kalos Academy, an all-volunteer non-profit mentoring FGLI students at colleges up and down the East Coast. Its vital work has been recognized widely, and now Professor Kelts represents Kalos on the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities’ national Council for Student Success.

As a curriculum consultant, Kelts helped to design and launch courses for the Teaching Center for Writing and Communication at Tsinghua University (Beijing). He has also designed, launched and taught courses for the successful EdTech startup Campus.org.
Steven Kelts