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3.6 Svenja and Shannon - listen now

Guests Svenja O'Donnell and Shannon Vallor discuss data biases, the danger of apathy and saucepan-enabled smuggling.

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Transcript for 3.6 Svenja and Shannon 

About our guests

Svenja and Shannon

Svenja O'Donnell

Chosen object: a bust of Lenin

Recording location: Northamptonshire

Svenja is a writer, journalist, commentator and freelance adviser on Brexit, UK and EU Politics. She previously worked as a foreign, economics and politics correspondent at Bloomberg News and Businessweek. Her articles have appeared in various publications, including Financial Times, Sunday Times and Independent. Svenja was awarded the Washington National Press Club Breaking News Prize in 2017 for her coverage of the Brexit referendum.

Svenja grew up in Paris and is half-Irish, half-German. She speaks five languages: French, German, English, Spanish and Russian.   

Her first book, ‘Inge’s War: A Story of Family, Secrets and Survival under Hitler’ was published in August 2020.

'Inge’s War' on the Penguin website

Follow Svenja on Twitter @SvenjaODonnell

Shannon Vallor

Bust of Lenin and a glass perfume bottle
Svenja's bust of Lenin and Shannon's perfume bottle.

Chosen object: a glass perfume bottle made by her grandfather

Recording location: Murrayfield, Edinburgh

Shannon is the Baillie Gifford Chair in the Ethics of Data and Artificial Intelligence at the Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI), and Professor in Philosophy.

Prior to joining the University, Shannon was a Visiting Researcher and AI Ethicist at Google. Her research explores how new technologies, especially AI, robotics, and data science, reshape human moral character, habits, and practices. From this, Shannon works with policymakers and industry to inform ethical standards for technology research and development.   

In 2015, she received the World Technology Award in Ethics from the World Technology Network. Shannon is the author of the book ‘Technology and Virtues: A Philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting’ and is working on a new book: ‘The AI Mirror: Rebuilding Humanity in an Age of Machine Thinking’.   

Shannon's staff profile

Edinburgh Futures Institute

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Host: Richenda Rae

Theme music: Nathan Webb

Producer: Kate Stewart