Schwitzgebel On Our Moral Duties To Artificial Intelligences

Eric Schwitzgebel asks an interesting question: Suppose that we someday create artificial beings similar to us in their conscious experience, in their intelligence, in their range of emotions. What moral duties would we have to them? Schwitzgebel’s stipulations are quite extensive, for these beings are “similar to us in their conscious experience, in their intelligence,Continue reading “Schwitzgebel On Our Moral Duties To Artificial Intelligences”

Changing Philosophical Career Paths

I began my academic philosophy career as a ‘logician.’ I wrote a dissertation on belief revision, and was advised by a brilliant logician, Rohit Parikh, someone equally comfortable in the departments of computer science, philosophy and mathematics. Belief revision (or ‘theory change’ if you prefer) is a topic of interest to mathematicians, logicians, and computerContinue reading “Changing Philosophical Career Paths”

On The Possible Advantages Of Robot Graders

Some very interesting news from the trenches about robot graders, which notes the ‘strong case against using robo-graders for assigning grades and test scores’ and then goes on to note: But there’s another use for robo-graders — a role for them to play in which…they may not only be as good as humans, but better.Continue reading “On The Possible Advantages Of Robot Graders”

Artificial Intelligence And ‘Real Understanding’

Speculation about–and vigorous contestations of–the possibility of ever realizing artificial intelligence have been stuck in a dreary groove ever since the Dartmouth conference: wildly optimistic predictions about the temporal proximity of the day machines (and the programs they run) will attain human levels of intelligence; followed by skeptical critique and taunting reminders of landmarks andContinue reading “Artificial Intelligence And ‘Real Understanding’”

Don’t be a “Crabby Patty” About AI

Fredrik DeBoer has written an interesting post on the prospects for artificial intelligence, one that is pessimistic about its prospects and skeptical about some of the claims made for its success. I disagree with some of its implicit premises and claims. AI’s goals can be understood as being two-fold, depending on your understanding of theContinue reading “Don’t be a “Crabby Patty” About AI”

Personhood for Non-Humans (including Artificial Agents)

As these articles in recent issues of the New York Times (here and here) and the holding of the Personhood Beyond the Human conference indicate, personhood for non-humans is a live issue, both philosophical and legal. As I noted during the Concurring Opinions online symposium on my book A Legal Theory for Autonomous Artificial AgentsContinue reading “Personhood for Non-Humans (including Artificial Agents)”

Nicholas Carr on Automation’s Perils

Nicholas Carr offers us some interesting and thoughtful worries about automation in The Atlantic (‘All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines,’ 23 October 2013). These worries center largely around de-skilling: as automation grows ever more sophisticated–and evidence suggests it is pushing into domains once thought to be inaccessible–humansContinue reading “Nicholas Carr on Automation’s Perils”

The ‘Trickery’ of Robots

Maggie Koerth-Baker reports on a case of supposed trickery–(‘How Robots Can Trick You Into Loving Them‘, The New York Times, 17 September 2013)–that has come to light as robots become more ubiquitous and enter an increasing number of social spaces: In the future, more robots will occupy that strange gray zone: doing not only jobsContinue reading “The ‘Trickery’ of Robots”

Get Your Computer’s Hands off my Students’ Essays

Last week, the New York Times alerted readers to the possibility of computers grading college-level student essays. As with any news featuring the use of ‘artificial intelligence’ to replace humans, reactions to this announcement feature the usual skewed mix of techno-boosterism, assertions of human uniqueness, and fears of deskilling and job loss. First, a sampleContinue reading “Get Your Computer’s Hands off my Students’ Essays”

The Mind is not a Place or an Object

Last week, I participated in an interdisciplinary panel discussion at the Minding the Body: Dualism and its Discontents Conference (held at the CUNY Graduate Center, and organized by the English Students Association.) The other participants in the panel included:  Patricia Ticineto-Clough (Sociology), Gerhard Joseph (English), and Jason Tougaw (English). As might have been expected, with that group of participants theContinue reading “The Mind is not a Place or an Object”