Photo of Jason Millar

Jason Millar

Contract Instructor

Degrees:B.Sc.E (Engineering Physics, Queen’s), B.A. (Ottawa), M.A. (Ottawa), Ph.D. (Queen’s)
Office:3A54 Paterson Hall

Office Hours:
Email for appointment.

Courses for 2016-17:

  • PHIL 2550:  Moral Psychology
  • PHIL 3350:  Philosophy, Ethics, and Public Affairs (Robo-ethics)

Research Interests: Robot Ethics, Machine Ethics, Engineering and Design Ethics, Bioethics, Science and Technology Studies


Jason Millar worked as an engineer before returning to pursue philosophy studies full time. His interests lie at the intersection of ethics, technology and society. Currently, Jason is researching issues in design theory and design ethics related to semi-autonomous technologies (e.g. driverless cars, implantable medical devices, unmanned aerial vehicles, and other robotics technologies). He is developing models that can help designers and engineers analyze automation technologies to anticipate and avoid integration problems due to what he calls “socially awkward technology”.

His most recent paper, Technology as Moral Proxy: Autonomy and Paternalism by Design, which he presented at this year’s inaugural IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Engineering, Science and Technology, won first prize in its category.

As a CIHR Science Policy Fellow at Health Canada, Jason recently produced his report: “Engaging and Empowering Patients with Consumer eHealth Solutions: Fostering Patient Expertise”.

Jason has also completed two clinical bioethics internships at the Kingston General Hospital in Kingston Ontario, and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. He served for three years on the Algonquin College Research Ethics Board during which time he updated the College’s policies on research ethics and science ethics to reflect changes in current Canadian ethics policy frameworks.

Jason has won several scholarships including a CIHR Science Policy Fellowship, Joseph Armand Bombardier SSHRC CGS, a Queen’s University Tri-Council Recipient Recognition Award, and a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship – Master’s.

Jason earned a B.Sc.E. – Engineering Physics from Queen’s University and worked as an engineer designing ICTs and aerospace electronics for several years prior to returning to academia to complete a B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy at the University of Ottawa. While at the University of Ottawa he worked for several years on On the Identity Trail, a multidisciplinary SSHRC funded project, researching some of the ethical and policy issues surrounding privacy in the digital age. While completing his M.A. Jason also worked as a Technology Policy Analyst at the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. He has published a book chapter on privacy in the first ever Oxford University Press publication licensed under the Creative Commons license. That chapter, and other publications are available here. He has also written on engineering ethics and the policy implications inherent in the design of technology.


Select Publications

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Millar, J. (2014). “Technology as Moral Proxy – Autonomy and Paternalism by Design.IEEE Ethics in Engineering, Science and Technology Conference Proceedings, IEEE Explore (online).

Millar, J., Kerr, I. (2014). “Delegation, Relinquishment, Responsibility: The Prospect of Expert Robots.” Forthcoming in Calo, Froomkin & Kerr. (Eds.) Robot Law (Northampton: Edward Elgar).

Millar, J. (2009). “Core Privacy: A Problem for Predictive Data Mining”, in Ian Kerr, Val Steeves, Carole Lucock (Eds.) Lessons from the Identity Trail: Anonymity, Privacy and Identity in a Networked Society. (New York: Oxford University Press): 103-119.

Millar, J. (2008). “Blind Visionaries: A Case for Broadening Engineers’ Ethical Duties”, IEEE 2008 International Symposium on Technology and Society Conference Proceedings, IEEE Explore (online).


Policy Reports

Saner, M., Millar, J. (2013). Analysis and Regulatory Implications of Definitions of “Synthetic Biology”, Institute for Science, Society and Policy. (Health Canada Commissioned Report).

Millar, J. (2012). Engaging and Empowering Patients with Consumer eHealth Solutions – Fostering Patient Expertise. (CIHR funded report to Health Canada).


Edited Articles

Millar, J. (2014). “You Should Have A Say In Your Robot Car’s Code of Ethics.” WIRED. (Sept 2).

Millar, J. (2014). “An ethical dilemma: When robot cars must kill, who should pick the victim?” (June 11).

Millar, J. (2014). “Should Your Robot Driver Kill You to Save a Child’s Life?” The Conversation. (Aug 1).


Media Interviews

BBC Radio 4. (2014). “Ethics.” Digital Human. (Nov 17).

Brean, J. (2014). “Technical Issues with robot cars just engineering problems. The moral quandaries are harder to fix.” National Post. (Sept. 12).

Miller, A. (2014). “The Moral Dilemma Presented by Driverless Cars.” (Aug).

Lebeater, E. (2014). “Steering the Debate Towards Robot Ethics.” The Wire. (Aug 12).