Being A Responsible Student Essay Competition

Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to participate in the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition Essay Competition. This essay competition was created to inspire students to explore connections between human rights and science, engineering and the health professions. Students may write on any topic at the intersection of science and/or technology with human rights. 

Do you want to compete? Click here to
read the rules and regulations!

Submissions should be written in the form of an analytical or critical paper that raises thought-provoking questions. For example, potential essay topics might include: the applications of a scientific approach or a new technology to address specific human rights concerns; an analysis of synergies between human rights obligations and the social responsibilities of scientists, engineers and/or health professionals; or the ways in which full implementation of the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress may influence realization of other human rights. These examples are only provided to spark ideas: students are encouraged to write essays that reflect their own ideas, interests, and insights. 

Prizes will be awarded in the following categories: 1) Undergraduate student and 2) Graduate student. 

The winning students will be recognized at the July 2018 meeting of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition. Winners of the competition will receive a year of membership in AAAS and a one-year subscription to Science, as well as a travel stipend to attend the Coalition’s meeting, generously provided by the AAAS-Andrew M. Sessler Fund for Science, Education, and Human Rights. Students who receive prizes will be asked to support AAAS stewardship of the Sessler Fund by providing feedback about their experience in the competition. The winning essays will be considered for publication by the AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program. 

How to Enter

  1. Submit your essay through the essay competition website which will be open 1 April 2018 through 30 April 2018. Website URL will be available in 2018.
  2. The essay may be submitted in either Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format.

Read the competition's rules and regulations here.

All the submissions have been reviewed, and we are happy to announce the winners of the ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest on the Responsible Use of AI Technologies. The winning essays argue, convincingly, why the proposed issues are pressing (that is, of current concern), why the issues concern AI technology, and what position or steps governments, industries or organizations (including ACM SIGAI) can take to address the issues or shape the discussion on them. These essays have been selected based on depth of insight, creativity, technical merit and novelty of argument.

The winners (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Jack Bandy, Automation Moderation: Finding symbiosis with anti-human technology
  • Joseph Blass. You, Me, or Us: Balancing Individuals’ and Societies’ Moral Needs and Desires in Autonomous Systems
  • Lukas Prediger, On Monitoring and Directing Progress in AI
  • Matthew Rahtz, Truth in the ‘Killer Robots’ Angle
  • Grace Su, Unemployment in the AI Age
  • Ilse Verdiesen, How do we ensure that we remain in control of our Autonomous Weapons?
  • Christian Wagner, Sexbots: The Ethical Ramifications of Social Robotics’ Dark Side
  • Dennis Wilson, The Ethics of Big Data and Psychographics

All winning essays will be published in the ACM SIGAI newsletter “AI Matters.” ACM SIGAI provides five monetary awards of USD 500 each as well as 45-minute skype sessions with the following AI researchers:

  • Murray Campbell, Senior Manager, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center
  • Eric Horvitz, Managing Director, Microsoft Research
  • Peter Norvig, Director of Research, Google
  • Stuart Russell, Professor, University of California at Berkeley
  • Michael Wooldridge, Head of the Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford

Special thanks are in order to our panel of expert reviewers. Each essay was read and scored by three or more of the following AI experts:

  • Sanmay Das, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Judy Goldsmith, University of Kentucky
  • H. V. Jagadish, University of Michigan
  • Albert Jiang, Trinity University
  • Sven Koenig, University of Southern California
  • Benjamin Kuipers, University of Michigan
  • Nicholas Mattei, IBM Research
  • Alexandra Olteanu, IBM Research
  • Rosemary Paradis, Lockheed Martin
  • Francesca Rossi, IBM Research

We hope to run this contest again with a new topic in the future!

— Nicholas Mattei, IBM Research

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