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An Interview with Prof. Patrick Lin

An Interview with Prof. Patrick Lin

(California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, CA)

David Černý: Recent years have brought rapid development in the field of artificial intelligence and robotics. Thinking machines already outperform human intelligence in different domains and many researchers believe that these machines will reach the level of general human intelligence relatively soon. Then it might be just one more step to creating artificial superintelligence. Today, AI driven devices and robots, from social and medical robots to autonomous vehicles and drones, play an increasingly significant role in our private and social lives and have already become omnipresent. Patrick, what do you think an ethicist can offer to the modern men surrounded by sophisticated technologies? Do the groundbreaking developments in AI and robotics raise specifically ethical questions or should we put our trust in the hands of scientists and expect them to solve what may seem to belong into the province of ethics?

Patrick Lin: Right, our world is increasingly ruled by technology, but we still have a role in determining our own future. If we’re not deliberate and thoughtful, then we’re “leaving it up to the market” on how technology is developed and used. But the forces that drive the market—such as efficiency, pricing, branding, and so on—are not necessarily the same forces that promote social responsibility or “a good life.”

Patrick Lin, The Ethical Dilemma of Self-Driving Cars

Patrick Lin, The Ethical Dilemma of Self-Driving Cars

Mere instinctual reactions of the human drivers could soon be replaced by the principled decisions of the robot cars, but which principles should the latter follow?