Faculty Profile: Patrick Lin

Patrick Lin, Associate Professor
Office: 47-37C
Phone: +1 805 756 2041
e-Mail: palin@calpoly.edu
Web Page: http://ethics.calpoly.edu


  • Ph.D., M.A., University of California, Santa Barbara
  • B.A., University of California, Berkeley


  • Director, Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group at Cal Poly
  • Affiliate Scholar, Stanford Law School, Center for Internet and Society
  • Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE), Australia
  • Visiting Associate Professor, Stanford University, School of Engineering (2013-2014)
  • Executive Director, International Association of Computing and Philosophy (2011-2012)
  • Ethics Fellow, US Naval Academy, VADM Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership (2009-2010)
  • Post-Doctoral Associate, Dartmouth College (2006-2009)


  • Member, United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) expert group on autonomous weapons
  • Research Director, Consortium for Emerging Technologies, Military Operations, and National Security (CETMONS)
  • Member, Emerging Technologies of National Security and Intelligence (ETNSI) initiative, University of Notre Dame, Reilly Center

Professional Interests

  • Applied and theoretical ethics
  • Social and political philosophy
  • Other areas, especially as they relate to science and technology

Publications (selected)

    Access to full text: Cal Poly's Digital Commons.

  • “Why Ethics Matters For Autonomous Cars”, Autonomous Driving (Springer, 2015).
  • “Super Soldiers” (parts 1 and 2), Global Issues and Ethical Concerns in Human Enhancement Technologies, co-authored with Keith Abney and Maxwell Mehlman (IGI Global, 2014).
  • “Military Neuroenhancement and Risk Assessment”, Neuroscience and Neurotechnology in National Security and Defense: Practical Considerations, Ethical Concerns, co-authored with Keith Abney and Maxwell Mehlman (Taylor & Francis Group, 2014).
  • “Is Warfare the Right Frame for the Cyber Debate”, The Ethics of Information Warfare, co-authored with Fritz Allhoff and Keith Abney (Springer, 2014).
  • “Ethics, War, and Robots”, Ethics and Emerging Technologies, co-authored with Keith Abney and George Bekey (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2013).
  • “Enhanced Warfighters: A Policy Framework”, Military Medical Ethics for the 21st Century, co-authored with Maxwell Mehlman and Keith Abney (Ashgate, 2013).
  • “War 2.0: Cyberweapons and Ethics”, Communications of the ACM, March 2012, vol. 55, no. 3: 24-26, co-authored with Fritz Allhoff and Neil Rowe.
  • Enhanced Warfighters: Risk, Ethics, and Policy, co-authored with Maxwell Mehlman and Keith Abney, funded by The Greenwall Foundation (January 2013).
  • Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics, co-authored with George Bekey and Keith Abney (MIT Press, January 2012).
  • “Robot Ethics: Mapping the Issues for a Mechanized World”, Artificial Intelligence, April 2011, vol. 175, no. 5-6: 942-949.
  • “Ethical Blowback from Emerging Technologies”, Journal of Military Ethics, December 2010, vol. 9, no. 4: 313-331.
  • What Is Nanotechnology and Why Does It Matter?: From Science to Ethics, co-authored with Fritz Allhoff and Daniel Moore (Wiley-Blackwell, March 2010).
  • Ethics of Human Enhancement: 25 Questions & Answers, co-authored with Fritz Allhoff, James Moor, and John Weckert, funded by US National Science Foundation (August 2009).
  • Autonomous Military Robotics: Risk, Ethics, and Design, co-authored with Keith Abney and George Bekey, funded by US Department of Defense/Office of Naval Research (December 2008).
  • “Untangling the Debate: The Ethics of Human Enhancement”, NanoEthics: Ethics for Technologies that Converge at the Nanoscale, December 2008, no. 3: 251-264.
  • Nanotechnology & Society: Current and Emerging Ethical Issues, edited by Patrick Lin and Fritz Allhoff (Springer, April 2008).
  • Nanoethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Nanotechnology, edited by Patrick Lin, Fritz Allhoff, James Moor and John Weckert (Wiley, August 2007).
  • “Nanotechnology Bound: Evaluating the Case for More Regulation”, NanoEthics: Ethics for Technologies that Converge at the Nanoscale, August 2007, no. 2: 105-122.
  • “Space Ethics: Look Before Taking Another Leap for Mankind”, Astropolitics, Winter 2006, vol. 4, no. 3: 281-294.
  • “What's So Special About Nanotechnology and Nanoethics?”, International Journal of Applied Philosophy, Fall 2006, vol. 20, no. 2: 179-190, co-authored with Fritz Allhoff.
  • “Nanotech in Global Security & Economics: Shifting Political and Economic Winds, or a Firestorm of Change?” (2006), Genetic Engineering News, vol. 26, issue 9: 6, co-authored with Brian Wang.

Presentations (selected)

  • “The Right to Life and the Martens Clause”, United Nations, Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) expert meeting on lethal autonomous weapons systems, Geneva, Switzerland, 16 April 2015.
  • “Ethics of Autonomous Military Systems”, Stanford University, Computer Science Department, 14 November 2014.
  • “Technology and Journalism: Ethical Challenges in the 21st Century”, California Polytechnic State University, Journalism Ethics Symposium, San Luis Obispo, 10 October 2014.
  • “Disruptive Technologies and Ethics: Why Google Should Care About Broader Social Implications”, Google, Mountain View, CA, 13 May 2014.
  • “Ethics and Autonomous Cars”, Nissan Research Center, 27 February 2014; Bosch Research and Technology Center, 28 April 2014; Tesla Motors, 29 April 2014.
  • “Autonomous Cars: Why Ethics Matters, and How to Think About It”, Daimler and Benz Foundation’s ‘Villa Ladenburg’ Project, Monterey, California, 21 February 2014.
  • “The Future of the Automobile: A Crash Course in Ethics” Stanford University, Mechanical Engineering Department, 3 February 2014.
  • “Why the Drone Wars Matter for Automated Cars: Ethics Lessons from Recent History”, Stanford Law School and School of Engineering, 12 December 2013.
  • “Military AI and Ethics”, Stanford University, Computer Science Department, 14 November 2013.
  • “Ethics of Autonomous Cars: A Roadmap of Philosophical, Legal, and Social Issues”, Stanford University, School of Engineering, Center for Automotive Research at Stanford (CARS), 6 November 2013 .
  • “Military Enhancements: Do They Violate International Humanitarian Law?”, Stanford Law School, Center for Law and the Biosciences, 22 January 2013.
  • “Cyber-Conflict: Issues in Ethics and Policy”, Chautauqua Council, New York, 30 July 2012.
  • “War Robots: Issues in Ethics and Policy”, UCLA Hammer Forum, 24 July 2012.
  • “Military Enhancements”, Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics workshop on emerging technologies and ethics of war, Canberra (Australia), 14 June 2012.
  • “Robot Ethics: Mapping the Field”, Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Canberra (Australia), 13 June 2012.
  • “Robots, Ethics, and National Intelligence”, In-Q-Tel (CIA) Technology Focus Day, Arlington, VA, 9 November 2011.
  • “Emerging Military Technologies and Society: A Survey of Challenges”, National Academies/DARPA workshop on military technologies, UC Irvine, 31 August 2011.
  • “Military Human Enhancements: On the Frontlines of Science and Society”, Brocher-Hastings Summer Academy, Brocher Foundation (Switzerland), 7 July 2011.
  • “Informational Warfare: Exposing the Fuzzy Logic in International Law”, UNESCO-sponsored workshop on informational warfare, University of Hertfordshire (UK), 1 July 2011.
  • “Soldier 2.0: How Engineering a Better Warfighter Disrupts Society”, Society for Philosophy and Technology, University of North Texas, 28 May 2011.
  • “Philosophical Collaboration: A Case Study in Technology Ethics (or: How to Herd Cats)”, American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division meeting, 22 April 2011.
  • “Military Blowback: Ethics, Emerging Technologies, and Society”, US Air Force Academy, McDermott Lecture, 14 March 2011.
  • “Military 2.0: Ethical Issues in Robotics and Human Enhancement”, Harvard University, Humanity+ Summit 2010, 13 June 2010.
  • “Enhanced Warfighters: Ethical and Social Implications”, US Naval Academy, Vice Admiral Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership's 2010 McCain conference, 22 April 2010.
  • “Against Gene Patenting: Debunking the Argument Based on Incentives”, Leadership San Luis Obispo seminar series, 14 August 2009.
  • “War Robots: What are the Risks and Ethical Issues?”, Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE) 2009 conference, 7 March 2009.
  • “Nanotechnology and the Environment”, Univ. of Delaware/Delaware Biotechnology Institute, Environmental Nanoparticles: Science, Ethics, and Policy conference, 11 Nov 2008.
  • “Superman vs. Frankenstein's Monster: The Debate on Human Enhancement Technologies”, International Congress of Nanotechnology, San Francisco, 6 Nov 2007.
  • “The Rise of Nanoethics: Emerging Issues in Nanotechnology and Society”, Yale University, Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, 10 Oct 2007.
  • “Introduction to Nanoethics”, University of California at Davis, Responsible Conduct of Research program, 4 May 2007.
  • “Nanotechnology and Energy: How It Can Help and the Challenges It Faces”, The San Francisco Exploratorium's nanotechnology podcast series “Small Talk”, 16 April 2007.
  • “Understanding the Debate: A Critical Look at Reasons For and Against More Regulation in Nanotechnology”, California Environmental Protection Agency's (Cal/EPA) nanotechnology symposium, 8 March 2007.
  • “Finding Reasons: A Critical Look at Recent Pro-Enhancement Arguments”, Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights, Stanford University, 27 May 2006.
  • “Space Ethics: Look Before Taking Another Leap for Mankind”, International Space Development Conference, Los Angeles, 5 May 2006.

Media Articles (selected)

Grant Funding

  • National Science Foundation (2013-2016): cyberwarfare
  • The Greenwall Foundation (2011-2013): military human enhancement
  • Office of Naval Research (2008-2009): autonomous military robotics
  • Office of Naval Research (2007-2008): autonomous military robotics
  • National Science Foundation (2006-2009): nanotechnology and human enhancement


  • Advisor on technology ethics to major governmental, policy, and industry organizations
  • Associate editor or board member of several respected journals in technology ethics and law
  • Referee for several major publishers and funding agencies
  • Chair or member of several Cal Poly university, college, and department committees
  • Chair or member of several planning committees for ethics conferences and workshops


  • Cal Poly/College of Liberal Arts, Outstanding Scholarship Award, 2009


  • PHIL 334: Philosophy of Law
  • PHIL 322: Philosophy of Technology
  • PHIL 231: Philosophical Classics - Ethics & Political Philosophy
  • PHIL 101: Introduction to Philosophy

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