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Ethical Machines episode 1: Mark Riedl

Computers can tell sto­ries but they’re always sto­ries that humans have input into a com­put­er, which are then just being regur­gi­tat­ed. But they don’t make sto­ries up on their own. They don’t real­ly under­stand the sto­ries that we tell. They’re not kind of aware of the cul­tur­al impor­tance of sto­ries. They can’t watch the same movies or read the same books we do. And this seems like this huge miss­ing gap between what com­put­ers can do and humans can do if you think about how impor­tant sto­ry­telling is to the human condition. 

Forbidden Research: Why We Can’t Do That

Quite often when we’re ask­ing these dif­fi­cult ques­tions we’re ask­ing about ques­tions where we might not even know how to ask where the line is. But in oth­er cas­es, when researchers work to advance pub­lic knowl­edge, even on uncon­tro­ver­sial top­ics, we can still find our­selves for­bid­den from doing the research or dis­sem­i­nat­ing the research.

The Internet of Damned Things

We have to be aware that when you cre­ate mag­ic or occult things, when they go wrong they become hor­ror. Because we cre­ate tech­nolo­gies to soothe our cul­tur­al and social anx­i­eties, in a way. We cre­ate these things because we’re wor­ried about secu­ri­ty, we’re wor­ried about cli­mate change, we’re wor­ried about threat of ter­ror­ism. Whatever it is. And these devices pro­vide a kind of stop­gap for help­ing us feel safe or pro­tect­ed or whatever.

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