Circles and Squares

Insights into Korea's Sudden Rise

Will Money be the first part of cyberspace to reach consciousness?

Colin Allen just posted an article entitled

“The Future of Moral Machines”

on the  New York Times Opinionator  page. The article offers offers some interesting insights into the moral authority of machines both past and present.

Personally, I do not see any reason to assume that machines are inherently less ethical than humans. Of course we use machines to do terrible things because they are unfeeling and do what we could not possibly do ourselves. But in a sense the machine is merely helping to reduce a contradiction within humans. The brutality of the machine comes from the manner in which it carries out a human will.

But this line in the article I found striking:

A robot walks into a bar and says, “I’ll have a screwdriver.” A bad joke, indeed. But even less funny if the robot says “Give me what’s in your cash register.”

The fictional theme of robots turning against humans is older than the word itself, which first appeared in the title of Karel Čapek’s 1920 play about artificial factory workers rising against their human overlords.  

What I find funny about this line is that it is assumed that “what’s in your cash register” remains inert whereas the robot now has the will to demand money. But could it be that money will have a will long before computers? After all, money now essentially means patterns of information that circulate between linked supercomputers around the world. That global information network may be more likely to come to its senses that the robot hauling goods in the street.

See the full story below:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/25/the-future-of-moral-machines/

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