Dr. Giulia De Togni


United States


Research Fellow


I am a social/legal anthropologist specialised in Japanese Studies, and my research focuses on risk, technology, ethics, health, and human rights. I hold a Bachelor in Laws and Economics of East Asia (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, 2011); a MPhil in Japanese Studies (INALCO, Paris; Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto; Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, 2014); a MSc in Social Anthropology (University of Oxford, 2015), and a PhD in Social/Legal Anthropology (UCL, 2019). I carried out extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Japan for two years, first in 2012-2013, then in 2016-2017. My doctoral research project focused on the living conditions of the Fukushima evacuees who moved to temporary housing facilities in western Japan after the triple disaster of March 2011.

In 2017-2019, I was the postgraduate teaching assistant at UCL Anthropology for undergraduate courses in linguistic and social anthropology. For this role, I covered topics on gender, power, resistance, the unsaid, trauma, violence, ethnomusicology and sociolinguistics. After completing my PhD at UCL, in May 2019 I joined as a postdoctoral research fellow the Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society (CBSS), which is part of the Usher Institute at Edinburgh University Medical School.

At CBSS, I am supporting work on the Wellcome Trust Seed Award “AI and Health.” The project, led by Professor Sarah Cunningham-Burley, investigates how AI is being used in different ways in health and social care: robotics in surgery, digital methods that help diagnose disease, and the use of sensors and other tools (e.g. companion robots) to support those who may be ill or frail at home. While such developments hold the promise of improving health and social care, they also raise social and ethical issues that we should all be involved in discussing.

The aim of my research is to inform policy and help those involved in AI, health and social care to deal with some of these concerns. For this project, I am building links with Japan; conducting qualitative interviews with a range of people, including AI developers and healthcare practitioners based in the UK, Europe, USA, Australia, and New Zealand; and writing literature reviews and conceptual papers about AI and robotic technologies in health and social care.