Noel Sharkey

Position: Professor Emeritus of AI and Robotics and Professor of Public Engagement at the University of Sheffield – ICRAC Chair

Links: Website

Expertise Areas: Robotics and Artificial Intelligence



Noel Sharkey PhD, DSc FIET, FBCS CITP FRIN FRSA is Professor of AI and Robotics and Professor of Public Engagement at the University of Sheffield and was an EPSRC Senior Media Fellow (2004-2010). He has held a number of research and teaching positions in the UK (Essex, Exeter, Sheffield) and the USA (Yale,and Stanford). Noel has moved freely across academic disciplines, lecturing in departments of engineering, philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, linguistics, artificial intelligence and computer science. He holds a Doctorate in Experimental Psychology and a Doctorate of Science. He is a chartered electrical engineer, a chartered information technology professional and is a member of both the Experimental Psychology Society and Equity (the actor’s union). He has published well over a hundred academic articles and books as well writing for national newspaper and magazines. In addition to editing several journal special issues on modern robotics, Noel has been Editor-in-Chief of the journal Connection Science for 22 years and an editor of both Robotics and Autonomous Systems and Artificial Intelligence Review.

His research interests include Biologically Inspired Robotics, Cognitive Processes, History of Automata/Robots (from ancient to modern), Human-Robot interaction and communication, representations of language and emotion and neural computing/machine learning. But his current research passion is for the ethics of robot applications. Noel appears regularly on TV (around 300 appearances) and is interviewed regularly on radio, in magazines and newspapers. He was chief judge for every series of Robot Wars throughout the world as well as “techspert” for 4 series of TechnoGames and co-presenter of Bright Sparks. He has been on lecture tours of India, China, Egypt, Australia and Singapore. He has devoloped large scale museum exhibitions at the Magna Science Adventure Centre and Think Tank galleries in Birmingham which have brought integrated SET directly to the public. Noel has also run robot control and construction competitions for children and young adults from 26 countries including the National Chinese Creative Robotics Competition and The National Egyptian Schools AI/Robotics Competition. He also worked on the development of a number of mechanical art installations.

After many years of detailed research within Artificial Intelligence and robotics, Noel’s core research interest is now in the ethical application of robotics and AI in areas such as the military, child care, elder care, policing, surveillance, medicine/surgery, education and criminal/terrorist activity. He serves as an advisor to the National Health Service think tank Health2020, is a member of the Nuffield Foundation working group on the ethics of emerging biotechnologies, is a director for the European branch of the Centre for the Policy of Emerging Technologies and co-founder of the International Committee for Robot Arms control. Currently Noel is a Leverhulme Research Fellowship for the ethical and technical appraisal of Robots on the Battlefield.


Sharkey, Noel, and Sharkey, A.J.C. 2013. “Robot Surgery on the cutting edge of ethics.” Computer 46 (1): 56-64. doi:10.1109/MC.2012.424

Sharkey, Noel. 2012. “Automating Warfare: lessons learned from the drones.” Journal of Law, Information & Science 21 (2). doi:10.5778/JLIS.2011.21.Sharkey.1.

Sharkey, Noel, and A.J.C. Sharkey. 2012. “The Eldercare Factory.” Gerontology 58: 282-288

Sharkey, Noel. 2011. “The automation and proliferation of military drones and the protection of civilians.” Journal of Law, Innovation and Technology 3 (2): 229-240

Sharkey, Noel, and A.J.C. Sharkey. 2010. “Granny and the robots: Ethical issues in robot care for the elderly.” Ethics and Information Technology 14: 27-40.

For full list of Noel Sharkey’s publications, click here.

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