Political and moral philosophy, ethics of peace and security, with an emphasis on the ethical, social, and policy implications of emerging technologies
Jesse Kirkpatrick is a Research Associate Professor and the Acting Director of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University. Jesse is also an International Security Fellow at New America and serves as a consultant for numerous organizations. His most recent consulting engagement is with Noblis Inc., a non-profit science, technology, and strategy organization that delivers technical and advisory solutions to federal government clients, where he is a member of the Responsible Artificial Intelligence Committee; AI Review Board; and Biosafety and Bioethics Committee.
Jesse received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, and prior to joining the Institute Jesse was an Assistant Professor at Radford University and a Research Fellow at the US Naval Academy. His work has appeared in numerous journals including, Ethics; Journal of Military Ethics; Journal of Human Rights. Jesse's work has also appeared in Special Warfare Magazine, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, and Slate. His current book, Drones, Robots, and Super Soldiers: Emerging Technologies and Military Virtue, is under contract by Harvard University Press.
Jesse's research focuses on the ethics of peace and security, with an emphasis on the ethical, social, and policy implications of emerging technologies. His research is interdisciplinary, cutting across such fields as Philosophy, Political Science, Public Policy, and the Life and Computer Sciences. At its core, it aims to explore two central, interrelated themes: (1) how a suite of technologies, singularly and in convergence, impact peace and security, and (2) what the ethical, social, and policy implications of these impacts may be. Representative areas of technology that Jesse's research has addressed include, AI and autonomy, biotechnology, and tele-operated systems.
Jesse's most recent projects include leading a study on the risks, benefits, and governance options of new genome editing technologies. The project was a collaboration with Dr. Gregory Koblentz, director of GMU's biodefense graduate program, and researchers from Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation. The study was supported by the Smith Richardson Foundation.
In partnership with Dr. Edward Barrett of the US Naval Academy, Jesse co-directs the Coming Home project, which engages veterans in dialogues on the moral, psychological, and spiritual impacts of war. The National Endowment for the Humanities has supported Coming Home for three consecutive years.
Drones, Robots, and Super Soldiers: Emerging Technologies and Military Virtue (Harvard University Press, under contract)
Katharine Raley Burnett, Christopher Cardona, Jesse Kirkpatrick, Sanaz Mirzaei, and Summer Newton. Assessing Revolutionary and Insurgent Strategies: Case Studies in Insurgency and Revolutionary Warfare—Colombia (1964-2009). The United States Army Special Operations Command and The Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory. (2016)
Guillermo Pinczuk, Mike Deane, and Jesse Kirkpatrick. Assessing Revolutionary and Insurgent Strategies: Case Studies in Insurgency and Revolutionary Warfare—Sri Lanka (1976-2009), The United States Army Special Operations Command and The Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory. (2015)
Kyle E. Watters, Jesse Kirkpatrick, Megan J. Palmer & Gregory D. Koblentz. The CRISPR revolution and its potential impact on global health security, Pathogens and Global Health, 115:2, 80-92. (2021)
“Drones and the Martial Virtue Courage,” Journal of Military Ethics, 14(3). (2015)
“Kirkpatrick’s Reply to Sparrow,” Journal of Military Ethics, 14(3). (2015)
“A Retrospective Essay: John MacCunn’s ‘Cosmopolitan Duties,’” Ethics, Vol. 125, no. 1. (2014)
“A Modest Proposal: A Global Court for Human Rights,” Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 13, no. 2, 230-248. (2014)
Kirkpatrick J, Koblentz GD, Palmer M, Perello E, Relman D, and Denton SW. Editing Biosecurity: Needs and Strategies for Governing Genome Editing. Editing Biosecurity Report. Arlington, VA: George Mason University; January 2019.
Kirkpatrick J, Koblentz GD, Palmer M, Denton SW, and Tiu. Biotechnology Governance: Landscape and Options. Editing Biosecurity Working Paper No 2. Arlington, VA: George Mason University; March 2018.
Koblentz GD, Kirkpatrick J, Palmer MJ, Denton SW, Tiu B, and Gloss K. Biotechnology Risk Assessment: State of the Field. Editing Biosecurity Working Paper No 1. Arlington, VA: George Mason University; December 2017.
Principal Investigator. Curriculum Impact Grant, George Mason University. Ethics and AI Minor Development. July 1, 2021—June 30, 2022 ($43,000)
Principal Investigator. Smith Richardson Foundation. CRISPR and Biosecurity: Assessing the Risks, Benefits, and Governance Options for New Genome Editing Tools. January 2017-January 2019. ($193,283)
Principal Investigator. National Endowment for the Humanities, Coming Home: Dialogues on the Moral, Psychological, and Spiritual Impacts of War. 2018-2019 ($100,000)
Principal Investigator. National Endowment for the Humanities, Coming Home: Dialogues on the Moral, Psychological, and Spiritual Impacts of War. 2017-2018 ($100,000)
Principal Investigator. National Endowment for the Humanities, Coming Home: Dialogues on the Moral, Psychological, and Spiritual Impacts of War. 2016-2017. ($81,597)
Co-Principal Investigator. George Mason University, Center for Global Studies, Workshop Grant, 2016. ($7,500)
James F. Hoobler Fellowship, Department of Government and Politics and the School of Public Policy, for exceptional academic work in public policy and management, 2012-2013
Robyn Rafferty Mathias Research Award, in Support of Lebanon Field Research, 2008
Andrew Mellon Research Award, 2007
Ethics, AI, and Sci-Fi
Just War Theory: The Ethics of War
Independent Study: Human Enhancement: Ethics and Policy
Ph.D. University of Maryland, Department of Government and Politics, 2013
B.S. Speech, Emerson College, 2003, Magna Cum Laude
“Ethics and AI Curriculum,” Interdisciplinary Computing Research Symposium. George Mason University, October 8, 2021
“Case Studies in Responsible AI Innovation,” Frontiers of Computing in Health & Society Conference, George Mason University, September 20, 2021
Symposium Commenter on Skerker, Michael. The Moral Status of Combatants: A New Theory of Just War (Routledge 2020), United States Naval Academy. April 19, 2021.
Opening Remarks, Coming Home: Dialogues on the Moral, Psychological, and Spiritual Impacts of War Symposium, New America, December 10, 2019.
Invited Panelist, “Biological and Chemical Convergence,” Ethical Challenges in the Development of New Weaponry Symposium, University of Pennsylvania, Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law, September 26, 2019.
“RPAs, Moral Injury, Jus ad Bellum, and Revisionist Just War Theory,” Governing Drone Violence: Concepts, Moralities, and Rules Workshop, University of Southampton, July 17, 2019.
“Space, Post-Traumatic Stress, and Moral Injury: The Final Frontier of Remote Weaponry?” International Society for Military Ethics Annual Conference, June 29, 2019.
“Moral Injury and Revisionist Just War Theory,” Oxford University, May 29, 2019.
“CRISPR and Biosecurity: What you need to know,” Presentation for Episcopal High School, WeWork, Washington, DC, April 24, 2019.
Workshop Convener and Panel Chair, “Converging Technologies, Emerging Risks,” American Society for Microbiology, Crystal City, VA, January 29, 2019.
“Editing Biosecurity: Needs and Strategies for Governing Genome Editing,” Report Launch, New America, Washington, DC, December 3, 2018.
“Sci-Fi, Lethal Autonomous Weapons, and Space,” Escape Velocity Convention, National Harbor, Maryland, May 25, 2018
“Emerging Technology and Virtue: Human Enhancement and Virtuous Super Soldiers,” Euro-International Society for Military Ethics, Toledo, Spain, May 14, 2018
“Virtuous Super Soldiers and Human Enhancement,” Delft University of Technology, Invited Talk, Delft, Netherlands, March 26, 2018
Times-Dispatch Richmond. George Mason University is right to require Covid-19 vaccinations. 2021
Kirkpatrick, Jesse and Michael Flynn. “Don’t Let Russia Undermine Trust in Science,” Slate Magazine. December 2018.
Kirkpatrick, Jesse and Ryan Jenkins. “What the Fatal Uber Crash Doesn’t Tell Us About Self-Driving Cars,” Slate Magazine. March 2018.
“The Ethical Quandary of Self-Driving Cars,” Slate Magazine. June 2016.
“Military Drone Operators Risk a Serious Injury You Might Not Expect,” Slate Magazine. January 2016.
Kirkpatrick, Jesse and Andrew Light. “Gene editing’s great potential, and great risks,” Washington Post. Sunday Opinion, December 13, 2015.
“The ethical quandaries of self-driving cars,” op-ed, Baltimore Sun, October 21, 2015.
“Syrian Civil War Heightens Polio Risk,” op-ed, Baltimore Sun, December 9, 2013.
Kirkpatrick, Jesse and Mary Kate Schneider. “I3M–Interest, Identification, Indoctrination, and Mobilization: A Short Introduction to a New Model of Insurgent Involvement,” Special Warfare Magazine, vol. 26, no. 4.