Setting up your computer to talk to a robot

First, log in

Let’s explain what you’ve just done

Second, plug in the cable

USB sockets are on left edge

Right edge has sockets that look a bit similar but are not USB

White insulator in USB plug should face toward front of classroom

Feel free to walk around the table to see what you’re doing

Let’s explain the cable structure

Third, wait 30 seconds

Ok, we already did!

But let’s explain why

Fourth, let’s get to the robots!




to fold into Hume lecture

“Mengzi (Mengzi was a philosopher who lived in China in the 4th century BCconsiders the case of a child who is about to fall in a well.

Without exception, you would feel alarm and distress if you saw this. This would not be because you hoped to gain the favor of the parents, praise from neighbors and friends, because you dislike the cries of the child, or because your reputation would suffer if you did not try to help the child.

From this, Mengzi concludes that the feeling of compassion is fundamental to humans.

He developed the theory that humans have four roots (or “sprouts”) as he called them for morality: ren (humanity, compassion), yi (rightness), li (ritual propriety), and zhi (wisdom).

According to him, These sprouts are present in all human beings, but they need to be cultivated in order to flourish, just like plants require water to grow. This thought experiment explores the idea that humans are innately compassionate.”

Please check the syllabus regularly!

The syllabus is the complete schedule for this course, and contains links to all content. Please click the “Syllabus” tab (at top of window) and check it regularly.

Spring 2018 Welcome

Welcome to the IFSC 2200 website! Everthing is here (except grades, which you will find on Blackboard). Do you see the tabs near the top of the screen?

  • “Home” is simply a blog, where posts like this appear.
  • “Course Information” gives information about the various guidelines and rules about how the course works.
  • “Questions to ask during discussions” gives some starting points toward developing discussion questions.
  • Syllabus” gives the course schedule, content, and assignments. It will be your most frequently viewed page!

Have a great semester!

Military robot ethics

Office of Naval Research poured significant $ into the question

It is thought that the tech is progressing faster than the ethical understanding!

As of 2014, US DoD


What about military rescue operations?

Are there ethical considerations in automated rescue?

Is this the same as civilian rescue operations?


Bot ethics can be categorized as

Operational ethics

Functional ethics

Full ethical agency

Are some of these harder/easier than others?


One expert claims military robots can be more ethical than humans

Can you think of an argument for that?

Or a counterargument?


Leading figures have signed petitions to slow down on fully autonomous weapons development



Livejournal blogs might be suspended by mistake

If your livejournal blog gets suspended, see

Please request it to be unsuspended. No one in this class yet has had them refuse to unsuspend their blog. If that does happen this year, though, we may have to rethink using livejournal.

Let me know how it goes!

Some introductory notes

Revised  1/22/2017

Ethics and Morals

Are morality and ethics the same?

No, but they are closely related

Ethical guidelines are more culturally independent

Moral guidelines are more culturally defined


*** Morals or Moral Code or Code of Morals (noun)

Refers to a code of conduct

Similarly, a code of ethics


Two kinds of morals / moral codes / ethical code / codes of morals / codes of ethics

(Did you expect simplicity??!)

1. Code of conduct adopted by an


(e.g. society,

religious or other group, or


2. Code of conduct that

any rational person

would agree with

Which, 1. or 2., best fits

Traffic laws?


The golden rule?

Two versions of it

What is one?


Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.


Is there a difference?

The 10 commandments?

Tax codes?

Laws about violent crime?

Dress codes?

Optional footnotes:

What is Morality?

See e.g. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,


What is Ethics?

“study of

standards of conduct


moral judgment”

Could rephrase it as “meta-morality”