[ExI] A Vindication of the Rights of Machines

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Tue Feb 12 09:38:21 UTC 2013

FYI about a lecture, since some of you might be in the Chicago area. 
Now, Gunkel is of course not too far out by our standards - he is a 
machine ethics guy, rather than a radical AGI proponent, but that 
actually makes his case more interesting.

Personally I think machine rights make sense when the machine can 
understand them, something that is pretty far away (AGI complete?). Some 
machines might be moral patients (i.e. we might not be morally allowed 
to treat them badly, for some kinds of bad) much earlier - I am arguing 
this especially for early uploading experiments, but it might apply to 
some other systems. Many machines are also moral proxies: they are not 
moral agents nor responsible, but they are proxies for a moral agent and 
that person extends their responsibility through the machine.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	[announce at iacap.org] Lecture in Chicago - 14 Feb 2013
Date: 	Mon, 11 Feb 2013 11:59:42 -0600
From: 	David GUNKEL <dgunkel at niu.edu>
To: 	<announce+iacap.org at iacap.org>

Please distribute to anyone who might be interested:
Citizen Robot: A Vindication of the Rights of Machines*
Cultural Studies Colloquium Series with David J. Gunkel

Columbia College Chicago
Thursday, February 14 at 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Collins Hall, Room 602 624 S. Michigan, Chicago, Illinois

*Abstract: *Whether we recognize it or not, we are in the midst of a 
robot invasion. Machines are now everywhere and doing everything. They 
manufacture our automobiles and other consumer products. They make 
decisions concerning finances and manage our retirement savings. They 
play match maker, connecting us to our one true love. And they 
effectively select the books we read, the music we hear, and the films 
we watch. As these artifacts increasingly come to occupy influential 
positions in contemporary culture, we will need to ask ourselves some 
rather difficult questions: At what point might a robot or algorithm be 
held responsible for the decisions it makes or the actions it deploys? 
When, in other words, would it make sense to say âEURoeItâEUR^(TM)s the 
computerâEUR^(TM)s fault?âEUR? Likewise, at what point might we have to 
seriously consider extending rightsâEUR"civil, moral and legal 
standingâEUR"to these socially active devices? When, in other words, 
would it no longer be considered non-sense to suggest something like 
âEURoeequal rights for machines?âEUR? Although these questions are a 
staple in science fiction, we have already passed the tipping point. 
This presentation will demonstrate why it not only makes sense to speak 
of the vindication of the rights of machines but also why avoiding this 
subject could be considered immoral.

*David J. Gunkel* is an award winning author and teacher specializing in 
information technology and ethics. He holds the position of Presidential 
Teaching Professor in the Department of Communication at Northern 
Illinois University and is the author of /Hacking Cyberspace /(Westview, 
2001); /Thinking Otherwise: Philosophy, Communication, Technology/ 
(Purdue University Press, 2007); and /The Machine Question: Critical 
Perspectives on AI, Robots and Ethics/ (MIT Press, 2012).

David J. Gunkel
Presidential Teaching Professor
Department of Communication
Northern Illinois University
dgunkel at niu.edu
The Machine Question (MIT 2012)

International Journal of Zizek Studies

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Faculty of Philosophy
Oxford University

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