In what ways should we include future humanoid robots, and other kinds of artificial agents, in our moral universe? We consider the Organic view, which maintains that artificial humanoid agents, based on current computational technologies, could not count as full-blooded moral agents, nor as appropriate targets of intrinsic moral concern. On this view, artificial humanoids lack certain key properties of biological organisms, which preclude them from having full moral status. Computationally controlled systems, however advanced in their cognitive or informational capacities, (...) are, it is proposed, unlikely to possess sentience and hence will fail to be able to exercise the kind of empathic rationality that is a prerequisite for being a moral agent. The organic view also argues that sentience and teleology require biologically based forms of self-organization and autonomous self-maintenance. The organic view may not be correct, but at least it needs to be taken seriously in the future development of the field of Machine Ethics. (shrink)
Improvisation is ubiquitous in life. It deserves, we suggest, to occupy a more central role in cognitive science. In the current paper, we take the case of jazz improvisation as a rich model domain from which to explore the nature of improvisation and expertise more generally. We explore the activity of the jazz improviser against the theoretical backdrop of Dreyfus’s account of expertise as well as of enactivist and 4E accounts of cognition and action. We argue that enactivist and 4E (...) accounts provide a rich source of insights on improvisation that go beyond Dreyfus’s notion of skilled coping, for example, through the central enactivist notion of “sense-making”. At the same time, however, we see improvisation also as suggesting an extension of enactivist theory. We see expert improvisers, in music and in life, as walking on a path of open-ended expansion of their mindful experiential relation with their doing. At the heart of an improviser’s expertise, we propose, lies a form of “higher-level inner sense-making” that spontaneously creates novel forms of agentive goal-directedness in the moment. Our account thus supplants Dreyfus’s idea of the ego-less absorbed expert by that of a mindful improviser enacting spontaneous expressions of herself, in music or in life. (shrink)
In this paper, we start exploring the affective and ethical dimension of what De Jaegher and Di Paolo (Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 6:485–507, 2007 ) have called ‘participatory sense-making’. In the first part, we distinguish various ways in which we are, and feel, affectively inter-connected in interpersonal encounters. In the second part, we discuss the ethical character of this affective inter-connectedness, as well as the implications that taking an ‘inter-(en)active approach’ has for ethical theory itself.
I compare a ‘realist’ with a ‘social–relational’ perspective on our judgments of the moral status of artificial agents (AAs). I develop a realist position according to which the moral status of a being—particularly in relation to moral patiency attribution—is closely bound up with that being’s ability to experience states of conscious satisfaction or suffering (CSS). For a realist, both moral status and experiential capacity are objective properties of agents. A social relationist denies the existence of any such objective properties in (...) the case of either moral status or consciousness, suggesting that the determination of such properties rests solely upon social attribution or consensus. A wide variety of social interactions between us and various kinds of artificial agent will no doubt proliferate in future generations, and the social–relational view may well be right that the appearance of CSS features in such artificial beings will make moral role attribution socially prevalent in human–AA relations. But there is still the question of what actual CSS states a given AA is capable of undergoing, independently of the appearances. This is not just a matter of changes in the structure of social existence that seem inevitable as human–AA interaction becomes more prevalent. The social world is itself enabled and constrained by the physical world, and by the biological features of living social participants. Properties analogous to certain key features in biological CSS are what need to be present for nonbiological CSS. Working out the details of such features will be an objective scientific inquiry. (shrink)
In the decade and a half since the appearance of Varela, Thompson and Rosch's workThe Embodied Mind,enactivism has helped to put experience and consciousness, conceived of in a distinctive way, at the forefront of cognitive science. There are at least two major strands within the enactive perspective: a broad view of what it is to be an agent with a mind; and a more focused account of the nature of perception and perceptual experience. The relation between these two strands is (...) discussed, with an overview of the papers presented in this volume. (shrink)
I discuss the realizability and the ethical ramifications of Machine Ethics, from a number of different perspectives: I label these the anthropocentric, infocentric, biocentric and ecocentric perspectives. Each of these approaches takes a characteristic view of the position of humanity relative to other aspects of the designed and the natural worlds—or relative to the possibilities of ‘extra-human’ extensions to the ethical community. In the course of the discussion, a number of key issues emerge concerning the relation between technology and ethics, (...) and the nature of what it is to have moral status. Some radical challenges to certain technological presuppositions and ramifications of the infocentric approach will be discussed. Notwithstanding the obvious tensions between the infocentric perspective on one side and the biocentric and ecocentric perspectives on the other, we will see that there are also striking parallels in the way that each of these three approaches generates challenges to an anthropocentric ethical hegemony, and possible scope for some degree of convergence. (shrink)
Current approaches to machine consciousness (MC) tend to offer a range of characteristic responses to critics of the enterprise. Many of these responses seem to marginalize phenomenal consciousness, by presupposing a 'thin' conception of phenomenality. This conception is, we will argue, largely shared by anti- computationalist critics of MC. On the thin conception, physiological or neural or functional or organizational features are secondary accompaniments to consciousness rather than primary components of consciousness itself. We outline an alternative, 'thick' conception of phenomenality. (...) This shows some signposts in the direction of a more adequate approach to MC. (shrink)
It is suggested that some limitations of current designs for medical AI systems stem from the failure of those designs to address issues of artificial consciousness. Consciousness would appear to play a key role in the expertise, particularly the moral expertise, of human medical agents, including, for example, autonomous weighting of options in diagnosis; planning treatment; use of imaginative creativity to generate courses of action; sensorimotor flexibility and sensitivity; empathetic and morally appropriate responsiveness; and so on. Thus, it is argued, (...) a plausible design constraint for a successful ethical machine medical or care agent is for it to at least model, if not reproduce, relevant aspects of consciousness and associated abilities. In order to provide theoretical grounding for such an enterprise we examine some key philosophical issues that concern the machine modelling of consciousness and ethics, and we show how questions relating to the first research goal are relevant to medical machine ethics. We believe that this will overcome a blanket skepticism concerning the relevance of understanding consciousness, to the design and construction of artificial ethical agents for medical or care contexts. It is thus argued that it would be prudent for designers of MME agents to reflect on issues to do with consciousness and medical expertise; to become more aware of relevant research in the field of machine consciousness ; and to incorporate insights gained from these efforts into their designs. (shrink)
This volume brings together a collection of papers covering a wide range of topics in computer and cognitive science. Topics included are: the foundational relevance of logic to computer science, with particular reference to tense logic, constructive logic, and Horn clause logic; logic as the theoretical underpinnings of the engineering discipline of expert systems; a discussion of the evolution of computational linguistics into functionally distinct task levels; and current issues in the implementation of speech act theory.