Dr Philip Garnett

Professor Philip Garnett

Professor in Systems and Organisation
University of York

Tell us about yourself

I am a Professor in Systems and Organisation. My research focuses on the application of systems theory, complex systems theory, and network analysis to understanding organisations and how they operate. My research is broadly focused on modelling organisational processes and structures, and interactions between organisations and their environment. This includes theorising organisations as an emergent property of a system of interacting parts.

I am also the Society and Ethics Pillar lead at the Institute for Safe Autonomy, and am interested in how algorithms, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, influence decision making within organisations. In particular, how humans and computers work together in decision making processes and the consequences that collaboration has on how organisations work. Related to this, I am interested in cyber and information security practice within organisations, and how organisations manage incidents or leaks.

Why did you want to become a Research Affiliate?

The use of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) technology in policing is growing and these technologies will likely form a significant part of the future of policing. For example, AI and ML technology will be increasingly found within drone monitoring systems, facial recognition, and other forms of electronic surveillance and analysis. Their use is not without controversy and challenges, both ethical and technological. Part of my own interest is also in how the developers of the technologies are frequently far removed from the people that are the subjects of analysis. This further contributes to issues around what biases and cultural norms are embedded in these systems and whether these and other design assumptions become violated as the use context changes.

How does your research connect to the Centre’s mission and values?

My research speaks to the central theme of how the police and other organisations can work together to reduce harm among vulnerable people in society.