Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the algorithmic judgment at its core, is developing at breakneck speed. Our society’s economics, ethics, politics and law – in short, our way of life – is being significantly and rapidly transformed as AI systems are embedded in more and more facets of our lives. This discussion-based seminar is devoted to the philosophical and ethical issues that current and future AI systems pose.

Questions considered include the following: How can we best align our own aims with that of autonomous AI systems? Has social media made us better? How do we prevent learning algorithms from acquiring morally repugnant biases? Should AI be used to kill in warfare or to “predict” crime in police work? Is it permissible to fall in love with an AI system? Or take one as a lover? What ethical codes should guide AI like self-driving cars?  Is “data” a new form of labor, and private platforms a new form of capitalism?  What forms of pressure, if any, do the new forms of surveillance put on privacy, freedom and democracy? Are AI systems moral agents? Can they be?  If they are, how do we hold them responsible? Can they suffer ethical harms? What counts as such? How should we live with intelligent minds alien to our own? Should we enhance ourselves by melding with computers? Is the future of AI an existential threat to humanity?

Our CASE STUDIES include:

  • AI bias
  • Automation and employment
  • Why self-driving cars must be programmed to kill
  • AI and free speech
  • AI and state control
  • Robot companions
  • Effects of social media on human happiness
  • AI and autonomous weapons