Jodi combines philosophical analysis with empirical research in psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience, behavioral economics and basic biosciences to rethink core ethical concepts. Her work shows how emotional thought processes (for example, catastrophic and wishful thinking) influence decision-making and beliefs (e.g., beliefs about about the power of a new technology), how we adapt to health losses, how we view our futures and how we relate to others.

Techonomy 2019

Current projects:

  • “Engineering Empathy” exploring how using technology to simulate or amplify empathy creates new threats to personal autonomy and relationships through case studies including robotics for elder and childcare, AI psychotherapy and the use of VR/AR to inspire philanthropy.
  • “Gene editing from bench to bedside” examining how beliefs held by translational scientists influence development, implementation, ethics and regulation of gene editing technologies ( funded through a competitive grant from the UC Berkeley Innovative Genomics Institute – Doudna Lab).
  • “Remaking the Self in the Wake of Illness” examines how people who have been catapulted by trauma into unrealistic emotional beliefs ranging from denial to catastrophic thinking can cultivate empathic curiosity towards themselves and regain the ability to envision and take steps into an uncertain future.

Ongoing research interests include:

  • Ethics of innovative technologies (AI, gene editing and neurotechnology)
  • Emotions and decision-making
  • Autonomy, agency and human rights
  • Research ethics
  • Empathy and healthcare ethics
  • Public health ethics and distributive justice

Jodi Halpern | 2121 Berkeley Way #5124, Berkeley CA 94720 |