MORAL IMAGINATION

Ethics & Empathy in the Age of AI

Nathan C. Walker

The rapid adoption of generative artificial intelligence requires the public to cultivate practical knowledge about AI ethics and law. To achieve this, the Rev. Dr. Nathan C. Walker applies the practice of moral imagination, the ability to picture yourself in an ethical dilemma about AI to understand competing points of view. Through stories about justice, trust, and public safety, Dr. Walker fosters your embodied understanding of how your moral compass guides you in these uncertain times. Dr. Walker argues that by applying moral imagination, we cultivate ethical empathy to understand another’s perspective, aware that understanding need not imply agreement. Moral Imagination is not a call for relativism about AI ethics but an invitation to understand diverse standpoints that call readers to articulate informed moral convictions. In doing so, we take shared responsibility for contributing to the public’s ethical and legal literacy about artificial intelligence.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Nathan C. Walker is the president of 1791 Delegates, a nonprofit named after the year states ratified the U.S. Bill of Rights. He is an award-winning instructor of First Amendment and human rights law at Rutgers University Department of Philosophy & Religion, where he teaches AI Ethics & Law as an Honors College faculty fellow. Dr. Walker is an Expert AI Trainer for OpenAI’s Human Data Team, providing subject-matter expertise and democratic inputs to ensure the safety and accuracy of frontier models.

Previously, he served as a short-term visiting academic at the Institute for Ethics in AI at the University of Oxford and a resident fellow in law and religion at Harvard University. He earned professional certificates in AI Ethics from DeepLearning.ai., IBM, the London School of Economics, Lund University in Sweden, Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy, and the University of Pennsylvania. 

He has three learning disabilities and earned a doctorate in First Amendment law from Columbia University and two master’s degrees in higher education administration, focusing on finance and education technology. Reverend Nate is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister in final fellowship and received a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary. He graduated from Emerson College with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in performance and education and was a full-scholarship student at the American Conservatory Theater. 

Dr. Walker has published five books on law, education, and religion and is a contributing author of the 2024 Munich Declaration on AI and Human Rights. He has presented his research at the United States Senate, the United Nations Human Rights Council, and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In November 2016, Publishers Weekly listed his book Cultivating Empathy as one of “six books for a post-election spiritual detox.”

Nate was born in Munich, Germany, and raised in the Lake Tahoe area in Northern Nevada, USA. He enjoys learning American Sign Language and lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with his husband, Vikram Paralkar.