Ethics students: Welcome to Spring 2017!

This course is being taught in two sections, a traditional in-class section (numbered 01) and a webcast/in-class hybrid section (numbered 991). For the hybrid class, I am planning to webcast and record the lectures. So you must know how / figure out how / find out how to use Blackboard’s “Collaborate Ultra” capability in order to attend in real time or view the lectures later. Let me know of any issues. I will be unlikely to know the answer since I am learning the same system myself, however I may be able to point you to a resource where the answer can be obtained.

Very important for all students:

  • You will need to make your own blog for this course at livejournal.com.
  • You will need to let me know the URL of your blog at livejournal.com, so I can access it to see your assignments.
  • You do not need to use your real name in relation to your blog.
  • Other blogging systems are not accepted for purposes of this course. Examples include WordPress blogs, Tumblr blogs, blogger.com, Blackboard’s blogging system, blogs you are using for other courses, blogs you have for your personal use, etc. These are good to use for other purposes, just not for this course.

 

Orientation

IFSC 2200 Professional Ethics — Orientation

  • Make sure you can log in
  • Let’s discuss
    • Course info (see tab)
    • Syllabus (see tab)
    • Workload
    • Attendance
    • Group formation
    • Let’s form ad hoc groups of 7-8, homogenous by section number
      • In the future, ad hoc groups can contain anyone
  • Icebreaker activities
    • Fill out name cards, hold them visible to group
    • Each person opines, then all discuss:
      • Which is better to do on the next vacation day?
        • barbecue, or
        • couch potato?
    • Name card scramble:
      • put’em in a pile,
      • each person gets to distribute them out again!
    • Discuss any questions about how the course will work
      •  (let me know of any that are unresolved)
    • (As time allows):
      • 2 truths and a nontruth:
        • each person says 3 things about self
        • others try to guess which one is not true
          • (anything, year in college, major, shoe size, hobbies, whatever)

Robot lab

lectureRobots

Welcome to Spring Semester, 2016!

As you can see, the course website uses a blog platform. Check the tabs above for information on the syllabus, general course information, etc. Occasionally something will be posted here as a blog posting, but usually, the syllabus tab is your best starting point for course activities.

Robot Ethics: The Three Laws

updated 11/19/2015  (in the future, change this to segue into group discussions about good ethical codes for intelligent driverless cars and intelligent chatbots (e.g. combination of Siri and Watson).
“I, Robot” – Ethical Quandaries of Robotics

I, Robot
Book of short stories by Isaac Asimov
(c) 1950
Movie “based” on book
released in 2004
Book much better!
(my opinion, your mileage may vary)
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Here are some

cover images over the years

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Stories are based on…
The “three laws of robotics”
What are they?
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The 3 Laws:
1) A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2) A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
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Theme of stories is…
The 3 laws conflict
They form an ethical code with “problems”
Can anyone think of how they might conflict?
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Consider chatbots
Siri, what are some others?
Are they bound by the 3 laws?
Should they be?
Consider the very first chatbot:
      ELIZA
What would happen if Siri was strictly required to obey the 3 laws?
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.Let’s look at some story plots
…because each story is based on a conflict
Warning: I am ignoring reading pleasure – go read it yourself!
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“Robbie”
Robbie is a nannybot
When the parents send Robbie away…
Little Gloria is heartbroken
What should Robbie do?
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“Runaround”
Setting: Mining colony on Mercury
Speedy is the robot
He is ordered to fetch liquid selenium from a lake
Does not return…what happened?
He’s circling the lake, acting “drunk”
The problem:
Selenium is dangerous to him
3rd law is strong because he’s expensive
2nd law is weak because order was so casual
So he’s stuck at a distance where they balance
Can a law be “strengthened” or “weakened”?
Is this conflict really a possibility?
What should Speedy do?
What should the colonists do?
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Consider intelligent driverless cars
Law 2 has a problem – don’t want just anyone to order around your car
Law 3: those things are expensive, maybe self preservation should be more of a priority?

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Consider intelligent chatbots
Is Law 3 even an issue at all?
About Law 1: it can never be sure it won’t say something wrong and harmful

Consider the following story:

“Liar!”

Robot RB-34 (“Herbie”)

Story has first known occurrence of term “robotics”

Poor Herbie has a manufacturing defect

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He’s telepathic…

(…ok, let’s allow some artistic license here)

What to do when telling the truth hurts a human?

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So Herbie is always lying!

What could happen?

What should Herbie do?

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In the story –

Herbie is told of the problem

He freezes up permanently

…seeing no way out

Time for a new robot

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About here is a good time to break into groups and try to make a good ethical code for intelligent driverless cars or chatbots…

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“Reason”
 Setting:
Space station beaming energy to Earth
QT1 (“Cutie”) is a new, advanced AI robot
QT1 concludes that Earth, stars…do not exist
“I myself, exist, because I think”
QT1 decides humans are inferior
Problem:
QT1 is responsible for aiming the beam
One mistake could fry a city
The humans on the ship are in a frenzy
What happens?
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“Catch That Rabbit”
Robot DV-5 (“Dave”)
It controls several remote bots by RF
But the remote bots just “dance”
When humans observe, they work again
(The problem was called a “Heisenbug”)
Why?
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Resolution:
Dave gets confused by too much complexity
Human observers reduce the complexity
Solution: deactivate one remote robot
Now there is less complexity
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“Escape”
A new hypersmart AI designs a hyperspatial space drive
The crew takes off
But…no showers, beds, or any food besides beans and milk
What’s the problem?
The AI is off kilter because during the hyperspace jump the crew ceases to exist briefly
Problem: AI thinks that conflicts with 1st law
What’s the solution?
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“Evidence”
Byerly survives a wreck
Later, runs for office
Opponent Quinn accuses him of being a robot
…made to look like Byerly
How can Byerly prove he’s not a robot?
Office holders must be human!
(Is that a good rule?)
He eats an apple
Proof?
He has a right not to be x-rayed, etc.
What can he do to prove humanness and win the election?
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A heckler runs onto stage during a speech
Demands Byerly hit him
(What would that prove?)
Byerly does!
How could Byerly do that *if* he was a robot?
Would a robot be a good leader?
Note: the story never says if he is or is not a robot
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“The Evitable Conflict”
Byerly is now World Co-ordinator
Robots/AIs control many decisions
But some decisions are harming some humans!
Why?
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Robots are interpreting the 1st law as “humanity” shall not come to harm
This would seem to require occasionally harming individuals
What should the AIs actually do?
The robots are in control
Should they be removed?
Still never resolved:
Whether Byerly is a robot or a human
 
 
 

Welcome, Fall 2015 Students!

Please see the tabs above for important course information throughout the semester.

Every now and then a new blog post (like this one) will appear in this section of the screen.

HW for every lecture (online students only)

HW for each lecture (online students only), starting Jan. 17, 2017

Due date: within 6 days of the date of each lecture.

Some class sessions focus on group discussions, while others have a more traditional lecture format. For the lectures, in-class students typically get 10 pts. for attendance. Online students instead get 10 pts. for engaging with the material online for the same amount of time as a class session, 50 minutes.

(10 points; expected time commitment is 50 minutes) For each lecture please upload, to your blog, notes on the material. You may take notes using either option 1 or option 2.

Option 1. While listening to the recorded lecture, take notes and post them to your blog. The title of the blog posting should contain the date of the lecture.

Option 2. Study the lecture outline, which is linked from the syllabus. To understand the points in the outline you will often have to do web searches for more information and more detailed explanations. Take notes and post them to your blog. The title of the blog posting should contain the date of the lecture.