Dr Michael Barnes

PhD (Georgetown University)
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Research interests

Ethics of Emerging Technology

Social Philosophy of Language

Applied Ethics


Michael Barnes is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Humanising Machine Intelligence project. Prior to joining ANU, Michael received his PhD from Georgetown University, where his dissertation was on the topic of subordinating speech. Before that, he completed an MA at Carleton University, where he focused on exploitation. It is from this background that he approaches issues in AI ethics, addressing wide-ranging topics such as online hate speech and propaganda, content moderation, algorithmic recommendation, platform governance, and the human labour behind automation.

Michael is interested in how social & political philosophy and philosophy of language can help us to better understand our changing practices of communication. He is currently in the process writing his first book, tentatively titled: Virtual Speech, Material Harms: Bringing Speech Act Theory Online. This project aims to offer a expansive overview of the harms of online speech, as well as an argument for the need to re-imagine speech act theory in light of the realities of our evolving communicative practices.

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Updated:  23 June 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers