2018 Covey Award: Professor Deborah G. Johnson

Dear Colleagues,

It is my privilege to announce that the International Association for Computing and Philosophy’s Executive Board has selected Deborah G. Johnson for the Covey Award recognizing senior scholars with a substantial record of innovative research in the field of computing and philosophy broadly conceived.

Deborah G. Johnson recently retired as the Anne Shirley Carter Olsson Professor of Applied Ethics in the STS Program within the Department of Engineering and Society. She continues to hold that title with emeritus status and she continues to be active in research and occasional teaching.

During her career, Johnson has taught engineering students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology, and the University of Virginia. Her teaching and her research have been broadly focused on Computer/Information Technology Ethics, Engineering Ethics, STS Theory and Policy Implications, and most recently she has been writing about Ethics, AI, and Robots.

Johnson published one of the first textbooks on computer ethics in 1985. The book was revised three times and translated into multiple languages. Drawing on her training in philosophy and ethics, she has published on a wide range of topics all directly or indirectly having to do with ethical, social, and policy implications of technology, especially information technology. Her publications include 7 books and over 80 pieces in journals, books, and other venues.

Johnson’s research has repeatedly received support from the National Science Foundation. Most recently she received awards focused on Surveillance and Transparency as Sociotechnical Systems of Accountability and a project on Ethics for Developing Technologies: An Analysis of Artificial Agents. She is currently working with a team of researchers at the University of Bergen who have funding from the Norwegian Research Council to explore the social implications of visual surveillance technologies in the news media.

Active in professional organizations, Johnson has served as President of the Society for Philosophy and Technology, President of the International Society for Ethics and Information Technology (INSEIT), Treasurer of the ACM Special Interest Group on Computers and Society, Chair of the American Philosophical Association Committee on Computers and Philosophy, and a member of the Executive Board of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.

In 2009 Johnson received the Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Linköping University in Linköping, Sweden. In 2004 Johnson received the John Barwise Prize from the American Philosophical Association for contributions to computing and philosophy; in 2001 she received the Sterling Olmsted Award from the Liberal Education Division of the American Society for Engineering Education; and in 2000 she received the Making a Difference award from the ACM Special Interest Group on Computers and Society (SIGCAS).

Due to a scheduling conflict, the Covey Award will be presented to Professor Johnson in absentia with her letter of acceptance preceding Dr. Edward N. Zalta’s Keynote Address. Please join us at IACAP 2018, June 21-23, Warsaw to extend Professor Johnson congratulations on this well-deserved award for her outstanding contributions to computing and philosophy.



Don Berkich
IACAP President