Noel Sharkey

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Noel Sharkey is a Belfast-born Irish computer scientist. He is best known to the British public for his appearances on television as an expert on robotics; including the BBC 2 television series Robot Wars and Techno Games, and co-hosting Bright Sparks for BBC Northern Ireland. He was a professor at the University of Sheffield.[1]

Sharkey chairs "The International Committee for Robot Arms Control",[2] an NGO that is seeking an International treaty to prohibit the development and use of autonomous robot weapons - weapons that once launched can select human targets and kill them without human intervention.

Sharkey is the founder and editor-in-chief of the academic journal Connection Science, and an editor for Artificial Intelligence Review and Robotics and Autonomous Systems.


Before his retirement, Sharkey held a chair in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Sheffield,.[1] Previous to this, he was a Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and a Professor of Public Engagement. He was supported by an EPSRC Senior Media Fellowship and a Leverhulme Fellowship of the ethics of battlefield robots.

He holds a doctorate in psychology, a doctorate in science, is a chartered electrical engineer, a chartered information technology professional, a fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, a fellow of the British Computer Society, and a fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation.

Academic contributions[edit]

In the academic world, Sharkey is best known for his contribution to machine learning and cognitive science. Sharkey has written and spoken widely concerning the ethical responsibilities of governments and international organisations in a world where robotics applications are dramatically increasing, both in the military and policing contexts,[3] and in the medical care of children, the elderly and the sick.


Sharkey appeared as an expert on the BBC 2 television series Robot Wars and Techno Games.[4] He co-hosted Bright Sparks, a science and engineering challenge series, for BBC Northern Ireland, and produces and presents a weekly radio show for the community radio station Sheffield Live! called The Sound of Science.

Sharkey has set up and organised robot competitions for young people around the world, including the national Chinese creative robotics contest, and the national Egyptian schools AI and robotics contest.

Most of Sharkey's media work is in radio, TV and newspapers about issues concerned with the military use of robots. Sharkey also had an interview on BBC Radio 4's The Life Scientific.

Personal life[edit]

Sharkey resides in Sheffield with his wife Amanda and has five daughters.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "Noel Sharkey Homepage". University of Sheffield. Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  2. ^ "ICRAC: Who We Are". ICRAC. Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  3. ^ Dr Noel Sharkey (18 August 2007). "Robot Wars are a Reality". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "Robot World-Techno Games". BBC Webchat. 9 March 2001. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 

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