The Future of Moral Machines

The prospect of machines capable of following moral principles, let alone understanding them, seems as remote today as the word “robot” is old. Some technologists enthusiastically extrapolate from the observation that computing power doubles every 18 months to predict an imminent “technological singularity” in which a threshold for machines of superhuman intelligence will be suddenly surpassed. Many Singularitarians assume a lot, not the least of which is that intelligence is fundamentally a computational process. The techno-optimists among them also believe that such machines will be essentially friendly to human beings. I am skeptical about the Singularity, and even if “artificial intelligence” is not an oxymoron, “friendly A.I.” will require considerable scientific progress on a number of fronts.

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Qualitative Experience in Machines

Abstracted from ‘Qualitative experience in machines,’ The Digital Phoenix: How computers are changing philosophy.

1. Many people, perhaps most people, have the idea that, however problematic qualitative experience is for the case of human beings, it is a lot more so for that of machines constructed by human beings. Few philosophers doubt that human beings’

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Contemplating Singularity

Most researchers agree that there is no reason in principle why we will not eventually develop conscious machines that rival or surpass human intelligence. If we are crossing to a new era of the posthuman, how have we gotten here? And how should we understand the process?

Cultural theorists have addressed the topic of the

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