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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
Here are some
Robot RB-34 (“Herbie”)
Story has first known occurrence of term “robotics”
Poor Herbie has a manufacturing defect
(…ok, let’s allow some artistic license here)
What to do when telling the truth hurts a human?
So Herbie is always lying!
What could happen?
What should Herbie do?
In the story –
Herbie is told of the problem
He freezes up permanently
…seeing no way out
Time for a new robot
About here is a good time to break into groups and try to make a good ethical code for intelligent driverless cars or chatbots…
A code of ethics is
Rule(s) for ethical conduct
Code of ethics
A very short ethical code:
Is this code of ethics
. . .Deontologically based?
. . .Consequentialism based?
. . .Virtue ethics:
. . . . . .Character traits are key
. . . . . .Character traits make you ethical or not
. . . . . . . . .Aristotle, Confucius, Hume…
. . . . . .What character trait might work in this example?
. . .What might be a workable ethical code here
. . . . . .based on consequentialism?
Ethical codes can be influenced by
- Virtue ethics
- (e.g. Aristotle, Confucius, Hume)
- – universally admired values
- – ethical if result is good, otherwise not
- – ethical if rule is followed regardless of result
- Law or other required rules that are not ethics based
- – how can that be?
Two major theories of law as it relates to ethics
Ref: A. Marmor,
“The Nature of Law”,
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Laws can be legitimate or not (obviously?)
Why is a law legitimate (or not)?
1. “Legal Positivism” theory
Legitimate laws reflect socially defined rules
2. “Natural Law” theory
Laws must meet ethical standards
“lex iniusta non est lex”
Can you guess any words?
Each part of an ethical code (and the whole code) can be analyzed
- Which types of ethics explains it?
- How could the same thing be coded using a different type?
- Which works better?
- How can you tell?
Let’s analyze another example . . .
Here’s an important case . . .
The IEEE/ACM Software Engineering Code of Ethics
Professional organizations usually have ethical codes
- If you are a member,
- you are supposed to adhere to it
IEEE, ACM, etc., all have ethical codes
- Typical behaviors covered are:
- Respect for clients/colleagues/others
- Adherence to law of the land
Ad hominem arguments
Latin for “to the man”…
…instead of arguing the question,
you deflect attention to the opponent
you argue that 1+1=2
the other person responds “It’s 3, and anyway you flunked arithmetic in 3rd grade”
Is that argument strategy always illogical?
Is that illegal?
Could something be ethical but sleazy….
…or unethical but not sleazy?
Red herring arguments
Term supposedly coined by William Cobbett in 1807…
…to describe when he stopped dogs from chasing a rabbit…
…with a kippered herring
Lots of kinds of red herring arguments
two wrongs make a right arguments
See list at:
Slippery slope arguments
Claim that one step leads to next steps ending in something bad
Can you think of any examples?
Can it be valid?
Can it be misused?
Logical fallacies arguments
General category of many illogical arguments
…correlation = cause and effect arguments
Roosters crow and the sun rises
Therefore sunrise makes roosters crow
Therefore crowing causes sunrise
Non sequitur arguments
“not in sequence”
The conclusion is claimed to, but does not, follow the premise
“We realize that it would be in the best interest of the community and our children to address the issue expeditiously. In order to make this happen, I respectfully request an eight-month payment delay calling for payment of the $10 million obligation on August 31, 2015.”
(Savannah City Manager Stephanie Cutter in a letter to the city’s superintendent of schools; reported in the Savannah Morning News, April 3, 2014) – quoted in http://grammar.about.com/od/mo/g/nonseqterm.htm
Can you think of, find, or invent an example?
These happen alot in daily life and political speech
Post hoc arguments
Find out what it is
Give an example
Ad hoc arguments
Find out what it is
Give an example