Philosophical Disquisitions

Philosophical Disquisitions

John Danaher
Things hid and barr'd from common sense
TITE 10 - Bonus Episode: Audience Q and A
In this episode, John and Sven answer questions from podcast listeners. Topics covered include: the relationships between animal ethics and AI ethics; religion and philosophy of tech; the analytic-continental divide; the debate about short vs long-term risks; getting engineers to take ethics seriously and much much more. Thanks to everyone that submitted a question. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon and a range of other podcasting services. #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe to the newsletter
Dec 20, 2023
TITE 9 - Human-Technology Futures
What does the future hold for humanity's relationship with technology? Will we become ever more integrated with and dependent on technology? What are the normative and axiological consequences of this? In this episode, Sven and John discuss these questions and reflect, more generally, on technology, ethics and the value of speculation about the future. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon and a range of other podcasting services. Recommended Reading Mark Coeckelbergh The Political Philosophy of AI David Chalmers Reality+ #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe to the newsletter
Dec 20, 2023
TITE 8 - Machines as Colleagues, Friends and Lovers
In this episode, Sven and John talk about relationships with machines. Can you collaborate with a machine? Can robots be friends, colleagues or, perhaps, even lovers? These are common tropes in science fiction and popular culture, but is there any credibility to them? What would the ethical status of such relationships be? Should they be welcomed or avoided? These are just some of the questions addressed in this episode. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon and a range of other podcasting services. Recommended Reading Evans, Robbins and Bryson - 'Do we collaborate with what we design?' Helen Ryland - 'It's Friendship Jim But Not as We Know It: A Degrees-of-Friendship View of Human–Robot Friendships' #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe to the newsletter
Dec 20, 2023
TITE 7 - Can Machines be Moral Patients?
In this episode Sven and John discuss the moral status of machines, particularly humanoid robots. Could machines ever be more than mere things? Some people see this debate as a distraction from the important ethical questions pertaining to technology; others take it more seriously. Sven and John share their thoughts on this topic and give some guidance as to how to think about the nature of moral status and its significance. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon and a range of other podcasting services. Recommended Reading David Gunkel, Person, Thing, Robot Butlin, Long et al 'Consciousness in AI: Insights from the Science of Consciousness' Summary of the above paper from Daily Nous. #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe to the newsletter
Dec 19, 2023
TITE 6 - Moral Agency in Machines
In this episode, Sven and John discuss the controversy arising from the idea moral agency in machines. What is an agent? What is a moral agent? Is it possible to create a machine with a sense of moral agency? Is this desirable or to be avoided at all costs? These are just some of the questions up for debate. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon and a range of other podcasting services. Recommended Reading Amanda Sharkey, 'Can we program or train robots to be good?' Paul Formosa and Malcolm Ryan, 'Making Moral Machines: Why we need artificial moral agents?' Michael Anderson and Susan Leigh Anderson, 'Machine ethics: creating an ethical intelligent agent' Carissa Véliz, 'Moral zombies: why algorithms are not moral agents' #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe to the newsletter
Dec 19, 2023
TITE 5 - Technology and Responsibility Gaps
In this episode Sven and John discuss the thorny topic of responsibility gaps and technology. Over the past two decades, a small cottage industry of legal and philosophical research has arisen in relation to the idea that increasingly autonomous machines create gaps in responsibility. But what does this mean? Is it a serious ethical/legal problem? How can it be resolved? All this and more is explored in this episode. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon and a range of other podcasting services. Recommended Reading Robert Sparrow 'Killer Robots' Alexander Hevelke and Julian Nida-Rümelin, "Responsibility for Crashes of Autonomous Vehicles" Andreas Matthias 'The Responsibility Gap: Ascribing Responsibility for the Actions Learning Automata' Jack Stilgoe 'Who's Driving Innovation', Chapter 1 Discount To get a discounted copy of Sven’s book, click here and use the code ‘TEC20’ to get 20% off the regular price. #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe to the newsletter
Dec 19, 2023
TITE 4 - Behaviour Change and Control
In this episode, John and Sven talk about the role that technology can play in changing our behaviour. In doing so, they note the long and troubled history of philosophy and self-help. They also ponder whether we can use technology to control our lives or whether technology controls us. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon and a range of other podcasting services.   Recommendations Brett Frischmann and Evan Selinger, Reengineering Humanity. Carissa Véliz, Privacy is Power. #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe to the newsletter
Dec 19, 2023
TITE 3 - Value Alignment and the Control Problem
In this episode, John and Sven discuss risk and technology ethics. They focus, in particular, on the perennially popular and widely discussed problems of value alignment (how to get technology to align with our values) and control (making sure technology doesn't do something terrible). They start the conversation with the famous case study of Stanislov Petrov and the prevention of nuclear war. You can listen below or download the episode here. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon and a range of other podcasting services. Recommendations for further reading Atoosa Kasirzadeh and Iason Gabriel, 'In Conversation with AI: Aligning Language Models with Human Values' Nick Bostrom, relevant chapters from Superintelligence Stuart Russell, Human Compatible Langdon Winner, 'Do Artifacts Have Politics?' Iason Gabriel, 'Artificial Intelligence, Values and Alignment' Brian Christian, The Alignment Problem Discount You can purchase a 20% discounted copy of This is Technology Ethics by using the code TEC20 at the publisher's website. #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe to the newsletter
Oct 10, 2023
TITE 2: The Methods of Technology Ethics
In this episode, John and Sven discuss the methods of technology ethics. What exactly is it that technology ethicists do? How can they answer the core questions about the value of technology and our moral response to it? Should they consult their intuitions? Run experiments? Use formal theories? The possible answers to these questions are considered with a specific case study on the ethics of self-driving cars. You can listen below or download the episode here. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon and a range of other podcasting services. Recommended Reading Peter Königs 'Of Trolleys and Self-Driving Cars:What machine ethicists can and cannot learn from trolleyology' John Harris 'The Immoral Machine' Edmond Awad et al 'The Moral Machine Experiment' Discount You can purchase a 20% discounted copy of This is Technology Ethics by using the code TEC20 at the publisher's website. #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe to the newsletter
Sep 29, 2023
New Podcast Series - 'This is Technology Ethics'
I am very excited to announce the launch of a new podcast series with my longtime friend and collaborator Sven Nyholm. The podcast is intended to introduce key themes, concepts, arguments and ideas arising from the ethics of technology. It roughly follows the structure from the book This is Technology Ethics by Sven , but in a loose and conversational style. In the nine episodes, we will cover the nature of technology and ethics, the methods of technology ethics, the problems of control, responsibility, agency and behaviour change that are central to many contemporary debates about the ethics of technology. We will also cover perennially popular topics such as whether a machine could have moral status, whether a robot could (or should) be a friend, lover or work colleague, and the desirability of merging with machines. The podcast is intended to be accessible to a wide audience and could provide an ideal companion to an introductory or advanced course in the ethics of technology (with particular focus on AI, robotics and other digital technologies). I will be releasing the podcast on the Philosophical Disquisitions podcast feed, but I have also created an independent podcast feed and website, if you are just interested in it. The first episode can be downloaded here or you can listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Amazon and a range of other podcasting services. If you go the website or subscribe via the standalone feed, you can download the first two episodes now. There is also a promotional tie with the book publisher. If you use the code 'TEC20' on the publisher's website (here) you can get 20% off the regular price.  #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe to the newsletter
Sep 25, 2023
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