The Government of Evil Machines: an Application of Romano Guardini’s Thought on Technology

Scientia et Fides 9 (1):257-281 (2021)
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Abstract

In this article I propose a theological reflection on the philosophical assumptions behind the idea that intelligent machine can be governed through ethical protocols, which may apply either to the people who develop the machines or to the machines themselves, or both. This idea is particularly relevant in the case of machines’ extreme wrongdoing, a wrongdoing that becomes an existential risk for humankind. I call this extreme wrong-doing, ‘evil.’ Thus, this article is a theological account on the philosophical assumptions behind the possibility of evil machines, machines that can create an existential risk for humankind, and the ethical remedies that limit that risk. After discussing these assumptions, I argue for the ineffectiveness of these ethical remedies to prevent the possibility of evil machines. The article is an application of Romano Guardini’s thought on technology to evil machines.

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