June 23, 2022
When Is an AI System Sentient?
Blake Lemoine and LaMDA AI
How can we tell whether an AI program “thinks” or “feels”? In the recent debate of Blake Lemoine’s claims about LaMDA, a functionalist approach can help us understand machine consciousness and feelings. (more...)
May 13, 2022
Deepfakes, deception, and distrust
Epistemic and social concerns
The main epistemic concern in the light of the potential ubiquity of deepfakes is not that we are going to be massively deceived. Global distrust and not global deception could be the ultimate consequence of deepfakes. (more...)
October 22, 2021
Roman Yampolskiy on the dangers of AI
Dr. Roman V. Yampolskiy is a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the Speed School of Engineering, University of Louisville. He is the founding and current director of the Cyber Security Lab and an author of many books. In this interview, he speaks about the future of AI. (more...)
Luca Possati on Transhumanism
Luca M. Possati is researcher at the University of Porto, Portugal. Educated as philosopher, he has been lecturer at the Institut Catholique de Paris and associate researcher of the Fonds Ricoeur and EHESS (Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales). (more...)
Inventing the New World
Can AIs have intellectual property?
For the first time in history, an AI called DABUS has been granted a patent in South Africa. This article analyses the metaphysics of attributing inventions to non-human agents. (more...)
Is Data Science Evil?
What does “Don’t Be Evil” really mean?
Computers have a long history of being associated with evilness. Machine minds without emotions suggest cruelty, unfeeling judgement, unflinching execution of inhuman orders. (more...)
The Uncontrollability of AI
The creation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) holds great promise, but with it also comes existential risk. How can we know AI will be safe? How can we know it will not destroy us? How can we know that its values will be aligned with ours? (more...)
More Aristotle than Galileo?
Artificial Intelligence and scientific discovery
Can artificial intelligence discover new laws of physics? Possibly. An article in Technology Review suggests that data from a swinging pendulum experiment allowed a neural network to discover some of the laws of motion. (more...)
What is Luddism?
The challenges of modern technology
Luddism as a social and political movement begins with the introduction of mechanised looms and other machinery during the British industrial revolution. Luddism, at its core, is the thesis that technology must serve human life, rather than the other way round, and that often the use of technologies does not make for better or happier societies. (more...)
Who Needs Cash Anyway?
The ethics of a cashless society
A cashless society seems convenient, but it has severe drawbacks, especially for the least privileged in society: cashless transactions exclude the homeless and card-less; they have been shown to lead to increased spending; they obscure the real price of purchases behind hidden fees; and they enable the pervasive and uncontrolled surveillance of citizens by both private companies and state authorities. (more...)
Erich Fromm on Our Relation to Technology
Rediscovering ancient skills in everyday life
According to Erich Fromm, instead of catapulting us into a utopia of eternal youth and affluence, modern technology has condemned us to a life under constant surveillance, is destroying the planet, and, in the form of AI, now threatening to take away human employment on a grand scale. Rediscovering some of the ancient skills that we all once had may provide a way out of the problem. (more...)
Erich Fromm: Society, Technology and Progress
The false promise of unlimited progress
According to philosopher and psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, society and technology have a crucial influence on individual happiness. According to Fromm, the dream of endless technological development has led to a depletion of natural resources and the destruction of nature. (more...)
History of Robots: From Albertus Magnus to the Blade Runner
The story of our fascination with our own image
From ancient China and the European Middle Ages, to zombies, Frankenstein’s monster and HAL 9000, our literary tradition is full of robots – sometimes helpful, sometimes threatening, and always questioning what it really means to be human. (more...)
The Artificial Man in Ancient Myth
The story of our fascination with our own image
The “artificial man” is not a new concept. Today, we call them robots, but many cultures have a myth about the creation of man and often it is a god who, through the use of divine powers, makes man out of some inanimate material. (more...)
What is Artificial Intelligence?
We examine a number of definitions quoted at the end of the first chapter of Russell and Norvig’s textbook “Artificial Intelligence. A Modern Approach” (AIMA) (more...)
Can Machines Think?
Why it’s so hard to tell
The question whether machines can think is more complex than it appears at first sight. The Turing Test attempted to provide a way to judge whether computers are intelligent, but pretending to be human in a chat is not the same as being intelligent. AlphaGo is undoubtedly intelligent in its domain, but couldn not pass a Turing Test. (more...)
Epicurus and Luddism
Would we be happier without technology?
Technology, at least in the way that it is deployed in capitalism (based on planned obsolescence) contradicts the essential simplicity of the ideal Epicurean life. Epicurus would likely have sympathised with Luddism. (more...)
Which Social Media Site Is the Most Ethical?
A case for applied utilitarianism
Social media affect our society in many ways. We consider issues of addiction, democracy, the decline of journalism, privacy, surveillance, and effects on friendships and user happiness. Taking the most obvious problems of social media into account, it seems that LinkedIn, WhatsApp and Pinterest are more ethical, on the whole, while Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are least ethical. (more...)
August 21: Happy Birthday, Sergey Brin!
Are we allowed to be evil now?
Today marks the birthday of Sergey Brin of Google fame (born August 21, 1973) and the first public presentation of William Burroughs’ calculating machine in 1888. The calculating machine formed the basis of a company that made some of the first modern computers, Unisys. Google was officially launched 110 years later. (more...)