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Noel Sharkey

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Noel Sharkey
Noel Sharkey
Noel Sharkey
Personal Information
Born September 1948
Robot Wars Information
Occupation Judge
UK Series 1-7, 2016, Extreme 1-2
US Series 1-2, Nickelodeon
Dutch Series 1-2
German Series 1

Information correct as of current date

Noel Sharkey is a British computer scientist from Belfast and Coleraine, Northern Ireland. He is best known for his appearances as a judge on the robot combat television series Robot Wars, and as a "techspert" on Techno Games. Noel Sharkey is often considered to be "head judge", specifically taking on that role in the 2016 series of Robot Wars.

He co-hosted Bright Sparks, a science and engineering challenge series, for BBC Northern Ireland. He also produces and presents a weekly radio show for community radio station Sheffield Live called The Sound of Science. Sharkey has made many other television appearances since Robot Wars including 10 episodes of What would happen if? (National Geographic Channel) Blue Peter, CBBC, Dara Ó Briain's Science Club, The Big Questions, BBC News, Sky News, News Night, The One Show etc and many overseas appearances in for example China, Egypt, US and around Europe.

Sharkey is now Emeritus Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Sheffield where his his also Emeritus Professor of Public Engagement.

He is co-founder and chair elect of the NGO: International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC) and a principle spokesperson for the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots a large coalition of 54 international NGOs like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Nobel Women's initiative and Pugwash. They have made strong headway at the United Nations about regulating the use of robots in war.

Sharkey is also co-founder and co-director of the Foundation for Responsible Robotics with the aim of promoting the responsible design, development, implementation, and policy of robots embedded in our society.

Academic mattersEdit

Sharkey is an interdisciplinary academic holding fellowships at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the British Computer Society, the Royal Institute of Navigation and the Royal Society of Arts,He is a chartered electrical engineer, a chartered information technology professional and a member of both the experimental psychology society and equity. He holds a PhD in experimental psychology/cognitive science, an honorary Doctorate of Science (DSc) and an honorary doctorate in Information Science.

In the academic world, Sharkey is best known for his contribution to machine learning and cognitive science, artificial intelligence and robotics writing more than 150 academic articles and books. He has worked in the US at Yale AI labs and Stanford Psychology Dept and in the UK at Essex dept Language and Linguistics, Exeter, Computer Science dept and Sheffield Computer Science dept.

As well as his scientific writing Sharkey has written for the likes of the Guardian, the Telegraph as well as magazines like New Scientist and the Wall Street Journal magazine.

Sharkey's other contributions include the setting up of robot competitions for young people around the world (including the national Chinese creative robotics contest, and the national Egyptian schools Artificial Intelligence and robotics contest), and the development of exciting state-of-the-art robotic museum exhibitions.

He has also 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, and in the care of children, the elderly and the sick).


  • Noel Sharkey is the only judge to have featured in every Robot Wars series so far, including the international versions.

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