Philosophical Disquisitions

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Sinopse

Things hid and barr'd from common sense

Episódios

  • 93 - Will machines impede moral progress?

    19/07/2021

    Thomas Sinclair (left), Ben Kenward (right)Lots of people are worried about the ethics of AI. One particular area of concern is whether we should program machines to follow existing normative/moral principles when making decisions. But social moral values change over time. Should machines not be designed to allow for such changes? If machines are programmed to follow our current values will they impede moral progress? In this episode, I talk to Ben Kenward and Thomas Sinclair about this issue. Ben is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Oxford Brookes University in the UK. His research focuses on ecological psychology, mainly examining environmental activism such as the Extinction Rebellion movement of which he is a part. Thomas is a Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at Wadham College, Oxford, and an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Oxford's Faculty of Philosophy. His research and teaching focus on questions in moral and political philosophy. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also su

  • 92 - The Ethics of Virtual Worlds

    09/07/2021

    Are virtual worlds free from the ethical rules of ordinary life? Do they generate their own ethical codes? How do gamers and game designers address these issues? These are the questions that I explore in this episode with my guest Lucy Amelia Sparrow. Lucy is a PhD Candidate in Human-Computer Interaction at the University of Melbourne. Her research focuses on ethics and multiplayer digital games, with other interests in virtual reality and hybrid boardgames. Lucy is a tutor in game design and an academic editor, and has held a number of research and teaching positions at universities across Hong Kong and Australia. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here) Show NotesTopics discussed include:Are virtual worlds amoral? Do we value them for their freedom from ordinary moral rules?Is there an important distinction between virtual reality and games?Do games generat

  • 91 - Rights for Robots, Animals and Nature?

    30/06/2021

    Should robots have rights? How about chimpanzees? Or rivers? Many people ask these questions individually, but few people have asked them all together at the same time. In this episode, I talk to a man who has. Josh Gellers is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of North Florida, a Fulbright Scholar to Sri Lanka, a Research Fellow of the Earth System Governance Project, and Core Team Member of the Global Network for Human Rights and the Environment. His research focuses on environmental politics, rights, and technology. He is the author of The Global Emergence of Constitutional Environmental Rights (Routledge 2017) and Rights for Robots: Artificial Intelligence, Animal and Environmental Law (Routledge 2020). We talk about the arguments and ideas in the latter book. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS fee

  • 90 - The Future of Identity

    28/04/2021

    What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be you? Philosophers, psychologists and sociologists all seem to agree that your identity is central to how you think of yourself and how you engage with others. But how are emerging technologies changing how we enact and constitute our identities? That's the subject matter of this podcast with Tracey Follows. Tracy is a professional futurist. She runs a consultancy firm called Futuremade. She is a regular writer and speaker on futurism. She has appeared on the BBC and is a contributing columnist with Forbes. She is also a member of the Association of Professional Futuriss and the World Futures Studies Federation. We talk about her book The Future of You: Can your identity survive the 21st Century?You can download the podcast here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).  Show NotesTopics covered in this episode include:The nature of i

  • 89 - Is Morality All About Cooperation?

    26/03/2021

    What are the origins and dynamics of human morality? Is morality, at root, an attempt to solve basic problems of cooperation? What implications does this have for the future? In this episode, I chat to Dr Oliver Scott Curry about these questions. We discuss, in particular, his theory of morality as cooperation (MAC). Dr Curry is Research Director for Kindlab, at kindness.org. He is also a Research Affiliate at the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford, and a Research Associate at the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science, at the London School of Economics. He received his PhD from LSE in 2005. Oliver’s academic research investigates the nature, content and structure of human morality. He tackles such questions as: What is morality? How did morality evolve? What psychological mechanisms underpin moral judgments? How are moral values best measured? And how does morality vary across cultures? To answer these questions, he employs a range of techniques from philosophy,

  • 88 - The Ethics of Social Credit Systems

    26/02/2021

    Should we use technology to surveil, rate and punish/reward all citizens in a state? Do we do it anyway? In this episode I discuss these questions with Wessel Reijers, focusing in particular on the lessons we can learn from the Chinese Social Credit System. Wessel is a postdoctoral Research Associate at the European University Institute, working in the ERC project “BlockchainGov”, which looks into the legal and ethical impacts of distributed governance. His research focuses on the philosophy and ethics of technology, notably on the development of a critical hermeneutical approach to technology and the investigation of the role of emerging technologies in the shaping of citizenship in the 21st century. He completed his PhD at the Dublin City University with a Dissertation entitled “Practising Narrative Virtue Ethics of Technology in Research and Innovation”. In addition to a range of peer-reviewed articles, he recently published the book Narrative and Technology Ethics with Palgrave, which he co-authored with

  • 87 - AI and the Value Alignment Problem

    23/12/2020

    How do we make sure that an AI does the right thing? How could we do this when we ourselves don't even agree on what the right thing might be? In this episode, I talk to Iason Gabriel about these questions. Iason is a political theorist and ethicist currently working as a Research Scientist at DeepMind. His research focuses on the moral questions raised by artificial intelligence. His recent work addresses the challenge of value alignment, responsible innovation, and human rights. He has also been a prominent contributor to the debate about the ethics of effective altruism.You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here). Show Notes:Topics discussed include:What is the value alignment problem?Why is it so important that we get value alignment right?Different ways of conceiving the problemHow different AI architectures affect the problemWhy there can be no purely

  • 85 - The Internet and the Tyranny of Perceived Opinion

    27/10/2020

     Are we losing our liberty as a result of digital technologies and algorithmic power? In particular, might algorithmically curated filter bubbles be creating a world that encourages both increased polarisation and increased conformity at the same time? In today’s podcast, I discuss these issues with Henrik Skaug Sætra. Henrik is a political scientist working in the Faculty of Business, Languages and Social Science at Østfold University College in Norway. He has a particular interest in political theory and philosophy, and has worked extensively on Thomas Hobbes and social contract theory, environmental ethics and game theory. At the moment his work focuses mainly on issues involving the dynamics between human individuals, society and technology. You download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).  Show NotesTopics discussed include: Selective Expos

  • 84 - Social Media, COVID-19 and Value Change

    20/10/2020

    Do our values change over time? What role do emotions and technology play in altering our values? In this episode I talk to Steffen Steinert (PhD) about these issues. Steffen is a postdoctoral researcher on the Value Change project at TU Delft. His research focuses on the philosophy of technology, ethics of technology, emotions, and aesthetics. He has published papers on roboethics, art and technology, and philosophy of science. In his previous research he also explored philosophical issues related to humor and amusement.You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here). Show Notes Topics discussed include: What is a value?Descriptive vs normative theories of valuePsychological theories of personal valuesThe nature of emotionsThe connection between emotions and valuesEmotional contagionEmotional climates vs emotional atmospheresThe role of social media in caus

  • 83 - Privacy is Power

    10/10/2020

    Are you being watched, tracked and traced every minute of the day? Probably. The digital world thrives on surveillance. What should we do about this? My guest today is Carissa Véliz. Carissa is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy and the Institute of Ethics in AI at Oxford University. She is also a Tutorial Fellow at Hertford College Oxford. She works on privacy, technology, moral and political philosophy and public policy. She has also been a guest on this podcast on two previous occasions. Today, we’ll be talking about her recently published book Privacy is Power. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).  Show Notes Topics discussed in this show include: The most surprising examples of digital surveillanceThe nature of privacyIs privacy dead?Privacy as an intrinsic and instrumental valueThe relationship between privacy and auto

  • 82 - What should we do about facial recognition technology?

    23/09/2020

     Facial recognition technology has seen its fair share of both media and popular attention in the past 12 months. The runs the gamut from controversial uses by governments and police forces, to coordinated campaigns to ban or limit its use. What should we do about it? In this episode, I talk to Brenda Leong about this issue. Brenda is Senior Counsel and Director of Artificial Intelligence and Ethics at Future of Privacy Forum. She manages the FPF portfolio on biometrics, particularly facial recognition. She authored the FPF Privacy Expert’s Guide to AI, and co-authored the paper, “Beyond Explainability: A Practical Guide to Managing Risk in Machine Learning Models.” Prior to working at FPF, Brenda served in the U.S. Air Force. You can listen to the episode below or download here. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here). Show notesTopics discussed include: What is facial recognition anyw

  • 81 - Consumer Credit, Big Tech and AI Crime

    22/09/2020

    In today's episode, I talk to Nikita Aggarwal about the legal and regulatory aspects of AI and algorithmic governance. We focus, in particular, on three topics: (i) algorithmic credit scoring; (ii) the problem of 'too big to fail' tech platforms and (iii) AI crime. Nikita is a DPhil (PhD) candidate at the Faculty of Law at Oxford, as well as a Research Associate at the Oxford Internet Institute's Digital Ethics Lab. Her research examines the legal and ethical challenges due to emerging, data-driven technologies, with a particular focus on machine learning in consumer lending. Prior to entering academia, she was an attorney in the legal department of the International Monetary Fund, where she advised on financial sector law reform in the Euro area. You can listen to the episode below or download here. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).Show Notes Topics discussed include: The digitisation, datafication and disintermediation of consu

  • 80 - Bias, Algorithms and Criminal Justice

    13/08/2020

    Lots of algorithmic tools are now used to support decision-making in the criminal justice system. Many of them are criticised for being biased. What should be done about this? In this episode, I talk to Chelsea Barabas about this very question. Chelsea is a PhD candidate at MIT, where she examines the spread of algorithmic decision making tools in the US criminal legal system. She works with interdisciplinary researchers, government officials and community organizers to unpack and transform mainstream narratives around criminal justice reform and data-driven decision making. She is currently a Technology Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Formerly, she was a research scientist for the AI Ethics and Governance Initiative at the MIT Media Lab. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).Show notes

  • 79 - Is There A Techno-Responsibility Gap?

    05/08/2020

     What happens if an autonomous machine does something wrong? Who, if anyone, should be held responsible for the machine's actions? That's the topic I discuss in this episode with Daniel Tigard. Daniel Tigard is a Senior Research Associate in the Institute for History & Ethics of Medicine, at the Technical University of Munich. His current work addresses issues of moral responsibility in emerging technology. He is the author of several papers on moral distress and responsibility in medical ethics as well as, more recently, papers on moral responsibility and autonomous systems. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).          Show NotesTopics discussed include:  What is responsibility? Why is it so complex? The three faces of responsibility: attribution, accountability and answerability Why are people so

  • 78 - Humans and Robots: Ethics, Agency and Anthropomorphism

    27/07/2020

       Are robots like humans? Are they agents? Can we have relationships with them? These are just some of the questions I explore with today's guest, Sven Nyholm. Sven is an assistant professor of philosophy at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. His research focuses on ethics, particularly the ethics of technology. He is a friend of the show, having appeared twice before. In this episode, we are talking about his recent, great, book Humans and Robots: Ethics, Agency and Anthropomorphism. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here). Show Notes:Topics covered in this episode include: Why did Sven play football with a robot? Who won? What is a robot? What is an agent? Why does it matter if robots are agents? Why does Sven worry about a normative mismatch between humans and robots? What should we do about this normative mismatch? Why are

  • 77 - Should AI be Explainable?

    20/07/2020

    If an AI system makes a decision, should its reasons for making that decision be explainable to you? In this episode, I chat to Scott Robbins about this issue. Scott is currently completing his PhD in the ethics of artificial intelligence at the Technical University of Delft. He has a B.Sc. in Computer Science from California State University, Chico and an M.Sc. in Ethics of Technology from the University of Twente. He is a founding member of the Foundation for Responsible Robotics and a member of the 4TU Centre for Ethics and Technology. Scott is skeptical of AI as a grand solution to societal problems and argues that AI should be boring.You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).  Show NotesTopic covered include: Why do people worry about the opacity of AI?What's the difference between explainability and transparency?What's the moral value or function of explainable AI?Must we d

  • 76 - Surveillance, Privacy and COVID-19

    18/04/2020

    How do we get back to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic? One suggestion is that we use increased amounts of surveillance and tracking to identify and isolate infected and at-risk persons. While this might be a valid public health strategy it does raise some tricky ethical questions. In this episode I talk to Carissa Véliz about these questions. Carissa is a Research Fellow at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at Oxford and the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, also at Oxford. She is the editor of the Oxford Handbook of Digital Ethics as well as two forthcoming solo-authored books Privacy is Power (Transworld) and The Ethics of Privacy (Oxford University Press).You can download the episode here or listen below.You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Stitcher and a range of other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).  Show NotesTopics discussed include The value of privacyDo we balance privacy against other rights/values?The significance of consent in debat

  • 75 - The Vital Ethical Contexts of Coronavirus

    15/04/2020

    There is a lot of data and reporting out there about the COVID 19 pandemic. How should we make sense of that data? Do the media narratives misrepresent or mislead us as to the true risks associated with the disease? Have governments mishandled the response? Can they be morally blamed for what they have done. These are the questions I discuss with my guest on today's show: David Shaw. David is a Senior Researcher at the Institute for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Basel and an Assistant Professor at the Care and Public Health Research Institute, Maastricht University. We discuss some recent writing David has been doing on the Journal of Medical Ethics blog about the coronavirus crisis.You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Stitcher and a range of other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).  Show NotesTopics discussed include... Why is it important to keep death rates and other data in context?Is media reporting of deaths misleading?

  • 74 - How to Understand COVID 19

    10/04/2020

    I'm still thinking a lot about the COVID-19 pandemic. In this episode I turn away from some of the 'classical' ethical questions about the disease and talk more about how to understand it and form reasonable beliefs about the public health information that has been issued in response to it. To help me do this I will be talking to Katherine Furman. Katherine is a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Liverpool. Her research interests are at the intersection of Philosophy and Health Policy. She is interested in how laypeople understand issues of science, objectivity in the sciences and social sciences, and public trust in science. Her previous work has focused on the HIV/AIDs pandemic and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014-2015. We will be talking about the lessons we can draw from this work for how we think about the COVID-19 pandemic.You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Stitcher and a range of other podcasting services (the RSS feed is

  • 73 - The Ethics of Healthcare Prioritisation during COVID 19

    03/04/2020

    We have a limited number of ventilators. Who should get access to them? In this episode I talk to Lars Sandman. Lars is a Professor of Healthcare Ethics at Linköping University, Sweden. Lars’s research involves studying ethical aspects of distributing scarce resources within health care and studying and developing methods for ethical analyses of health-care procedures. We discuss the ethics of healthcare prioritisation in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic, focusing specifically on some principles Lars, along with others, developed for the Swedish government.You download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Stitcher and a range of other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here). Show NotesThe prioritisation challenges we currently faceEthical principles for prioritisation in healthcareProblems with applying ethical theories in practiceSwedish legal principles on healthcare prioritisationPrinciples for access to ICU during the COVID 19 pandemicDo we prioritise youn

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