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Philosophy graduates launch tech ethics consultancy

Olivia Gambelin and Anna van Oosterzee launched Ethical Intelligence, a consultancy to help businesses navigate the growing ethical challenges of using artificial intelligence

Ethical Intelligence has already worked with the Scottish Government, global investment firm Franklin Templeton and the University of Edinburgh.

We want to turn the grey of tech ethics into black and white for businesses and other organisations.

Olivia GambelinCo-Founder, Ethical Intelligence

The two have assembled a team of 15 ethics experts with various specialisms spanning the broad technology field. They will help clients assess and address the risks surrounding issues such as data privacy and hidden biases when using technology such as artificial intelligence, algorithms and automation.

“We take the internal values of a company, put together specialist research teams and produce outputs such as risk analysis, protocols and project proposals,” says van Oosterzee.

High-profile clients

The pair recently produced a charter on the ethical use of data for a project involving the Scottish Government and the UN children’s charity Unicef concerning childhood obesity.

They have also helped Franklin Templeton on how the investment firm partners with other companies, and are soon to travel to California to help implement their recommendations.

And they have begun a project with the University on the ethical use of technology to help support students who may be vulnerable to mental health difficulties.

The data subject, such as the child, student or customer, must be the ultimate beneficiary of our work. We offer a service to our client, but it’s about the human side of the story, about doing tech in the right way.

Anna van OosterzeeCo-Founder, Ethical Intelligence

Gambelin, from the US, and van Oosterzee, from the Netherlands, met during their one-year masters degrees at the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences. Gambelin was studying for an MSc in Philosophy, and van Oosterzee was studying for an MSc in Mind, Language and Embodied Cognition. They both graduated in 2019.

Edinburgh Innovations has helped Gambelin and van Oosterzee connect with essential advisers including lawyers and accountants, helped them access funding, and hosted them on the 12-week Summer Startup Accelerator programme. Ethical Intelligence has also been provided office space in the University’s new Bayes Centre on Edinburgh’s Potterrow.

Startup Summer support

Startup Summer is run by Edinburgh Innovations and sponsored by Santander Universities, the University's Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability and the angel investor syndicate Equity Gap. Participants receive £3,000 in funding, dedicated workshops and weekly peer learning sessions.

The company has recently appointed three board members: Gary Bernstein, founder of Tech Scotland Advocates; Andrea Bonime-Blanc, founder of GEC Risk Advisory; and Mark Sprevak, Associate Professor in Philosophy at the University.

Related links

Ethical Intelligence

EI enterprise services for students

MSc in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh

MSc in Mind, Language and Embodied Cognition at the University of Edinburgh