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Philosophical Disquisitions

Author: John Danaher

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Interviews with experts about the philosophy of the future.
112 Episodes
I was raised in the tradition of believing that everyone is of equal moral worth. But when I scrutinise my daily practices, I don’t think I can honestly say that I act as if everyone is of equal moral worth. The idea that some people belong within the circle of moral concern and some do not is central to many moral systems. But what affects the dynamics of the moral circle? How does it contract and expand? Can it expand indefinitely? In this episode I discuss these questions with Joshua Rottman. Josh is an associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Program in Scientific and Philosophical Studies of Mind at Franklin and Marshall College. His research is situated at the intersection of cognitive development and moral psychology, and he primarily focuses on studying the factors that lead certain entities and objects to be attributed with (or stripped of) moral concern. 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:The normative significance of moral psychologyThe concept of the moral circleHow the moral circle develops in childrenHow the moral circle changes over timeCan the moral circle expand indefinitely?Do we have a limited budget of moral concern?Do most people underuse their budget of moral concern?Why do some people prioritise the non-human world over marginal humans?Relevant LinksJosh's webpage at F and M CollegeJosh's personal webpageJosh at Psychology Today'Tree huggers vs Human Lovers' by Josh et alSummary of the above article at Psychology Today'Towards a Psychology of Moral Expansiveness' by Crimston et al Subscribe to the newsletter
Can we move beyond the Aristotelian account of friendship when thinking about our relationships with robots? Can we hate robots? In this episode, I talk to Helen Ryland about these topics. Helen is a UK-based philosopher. She completed her PhD in Philosophy in 2020 at the University of Birmingham. She now works as an Associate Lecturer for The Open University. Her work examines human-robot relationships, video game ethics, and the personhood and moral status of marginal cases of human rights (e.g., subjects with dementia, nonhuman animals, and robots). 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 covered include:What is friendship and why does it matter?The Aristotelian account of friendshipLimitations of the Aristotelian accountMoving beyond AristotleThe degrees of friendship modelWhy we can be friends with robotsCriticisms of robot-human friendshipThe possibility of hating robotsDo we already hate robots?Why would it matter if we did hate robots?Relevant LinksHelen's homepage'It's Friendship Jim, But Not as We Know It:  A Degrees-of-Friendship View of Human–Robot Friendships' by HelenCould you hate a robot? Does it matter if you could? by Helen Subscribe to the newsletter
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 subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here). 
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 generate their own internal ethics?How prevalent are unwanted digitally enacted sexual interactions?How do gamers respond to such interactions? Do they take them seriously?How can game designers address this problem?Do gamers tolerate immoral actions more than the norm?Can there be a productive form of distrust in video game design?Relevant LinksLucy on TwitterLucy on Researchgate'Apathetic villagers and the trolls who love them' by Lucy Sparrow, Martin Gibbs and Michael Arnold'From ‘Silly’ to ‘Scumbag’: Reddit Discussion of a Case of Groping in a Virtual Reality Game' by Lucy et al'Productive Distrust: Playing with the player in digital games' by Lucy et al'The "digital animal intuition": the ethics of violence against animals in video games" by Simon Coghlan and Lucy Sparrow Subscribe to the newsletter
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 feed is here).Show notesTopics covered include:Should we even be talking about robot rights?What is a right? What's the difference between a legal and moral right?How do we justify the ascription of rights?What is personhood? Who counts as a person?Properties versus relations - what matters more when it comes to moral status?What can we learn from the animal rights case law?What can we learn from the Rights of Nature debate?Can we imagine a future in which robots have rights? What kinds of rights might those be?Relevant LinksJosh's homepageJosh on TwitterRights for Robots: Artificial Intelligence, Animal and Environmental Law  by Josh (digital version available Open Access)"Earth system law and the legal status of non-humans in the Anthropocene" by Josh Subscribe to the newsletter
90 - The Future of Identity

90 - The Future of Identity


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 identityThe link between technology and identityIs technology giving us more creative control over identity?Does technology encourage more conformity and groupthink?Is our identity being fragmented by technology?Who controls the technology of identity formation?How should we govern the technology of identity formation in the future?Relevant LinksThe Future of You by TraceyTracey on TwitterTracey at ForbesFuturemade consultancyTracey's talk to the London Futurists Subscribe to the newsletter
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 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, experimental and social psychology and comparative anthropology. 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:The nature of moralityThe link between human morality and cooperationThe seven types of cooperation How these seven types of cooperation generate distinctive moral normsThe evidence for the theory of morality as cooperationIs the theory underinclusive, reductive and universalist? Is that a problem?Is the theory overinclusive? Could it be falsified?Why Morality as Cooperation is better than Moral Foundations TheoryThe future of cooperationRelevant linksOliver's webpageOliver on TwitterOliver's Podcast - The Map'Morality as Cooperation: A Problem-Centred Approach' by Oliver (sets out the theory of MAC)'Morality is fundamentally an evolved solution to problems of social co-operation' (debate at the Royal Anthropological Society)'Moral Molecules: Morality as a combinatorial system' by Oliver and his colleagues'Is it good to cooperate? Testing the theory of morality-as-cooperation in 60 societies' by Oliver and colleagues'What is wrong with moral foundations theory?' by Oliver Subscribe to the newsletter
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 Mark Coeckbelbergh. 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 in this episode includeThe Origins of the Chinese Social Credit SystemHistorical Parallels to the SystemSocial Credit Systems in Western CulturesIs China exceptional when it comes to the use of these systems?The impact of social credit systems on human values such as freedom and authenticityHow the social credit system is reshaping citizenshipThe possible futures of social credit systemsRelevant LinksWessel's homepageWessel on Twitter'A Dystopian Future? The Rise of Social Credit Systems' - a written debate featuring Wessel'How to Make the Perfect Citizen? Lessons from China's Model of Social Credit System' by Liav Orgad and Wessel ReijersNarrative and Technology Ethics by Wessel Reijers and Mark Coeckelbergh Subscribe to the newsletter
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 technical solution to the value alignment problemSix potential solutions to the value alignment problemWhy we need to deal with value pluralism and uncertaintyHow political theory can help to resolve the problem Relevant LinksIason on Twitter"Artificial Intelligence, Values and Alignment" by Iason"Effective Altruism and its Critics" by IasonMy blog series on the above article"Social Choice Ethics in Artificial Intelligence" by Seth Baum Subscribe to the newsletter
 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 Exposure and Confirmation Bias How algorithms curate our informational ecology Filter Bubbles Echo Chambers How the internet is created more internally conformist but externally polarised groups The nature of political freedom Tocqueville and the tyranny of the majority Mill and the importance of individuality How algorithmic curation of speech is undermining our liberty What can be done about this problem?Relevant Links Henrik's faculty homepage Henrik on Researchgate Henrik on Twitter 'The Tyranny of Perceived Opinion: Freedom and information in the era of big data' by Henrik 'Privacy as an aggregate public good' by Henrik 'Freedom under the gaze of Big Brother: Preparing the grounds for a liberal defence of privacy in the era of Big Data' by Henrik 'When nudge comes to shove: Liberty and nudging in the era of big data' by Henrik Subscribe to the newsletter
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 causing emotional contagionIs the coronavirus promoting a negative emotional climate?Will this affect our political preferences and policies?General lessons for technology and value change Relevant Links Steffen's HomepageThe Designing for Changing Values Project @ TU DelftCorona and Value Change by Steffen'Unleashing the Constructive Potential of Emotions' by Steffen and Sabine RoeserAn Overview of the Schwartz Theory of Basic Personal Values Subscribe to the newsletter
83 - Privacy is Power

83 - Privacy is Power


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 autonomyDoes surveillance help with security and health?The problem with mass surveillanceThe phenomenon of toxic dataHow surveillance undermines democracy and freedomAre we willing to trade privacy for convenient services?And much more Relevant Links Carissa's WebpagePrivacy is Power by CarissaSummary of Privacy is Power in AeonReview of Privacy is Power in The Guardian Carissa's Twitter feed (a treasure trove of links about privacy and surveillance)Views on Privacy: A Survey by Sian Brooke and Carissa VélizData, Privacy and the Individual by Carissa Véliz Subscribe to the newsletter
 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 anyway? Are there multiple forms that are confused and conflated? What's the history of facial recognition? What has changed recently? How is the technology used? What are the benefits of facial recognition? What's bad about it? What are the privacy and other risks? Is there something unique about the face that should make us more worried about facial biometrics when compared to other forms? What can we do to address the risks? Should we regulate or ban?Relevant Links Brenda's Homepage Brenda on Twitter 'The Privacy Expert's Guide to AI and Machine Learning' by Brenda (at FPF) Brenda's US Congress Testimony on Facial Recognition 'Facial recognition and the future of privacy: I always feel like … somebody’s watching me' by Brenda 'The Case for Banning Law Enforcement From Using Facial Recognition Technology' by Evan Selinger and Woodrow Hartzog Subscribe to the newsletter
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 consumer credit markets Algorithmic credit scoring The problems of risk and bias in credit scoring How law and regulation can address these problems Tech platforms that are too big to fail What should we do if Facebook fails? The forms of AI crime How to address the problem of AI crime Relevant Links Nikita's homepage Nikita on Twitter 'The Norms of Algorithmic Credit Scoring' by Nikita 'What if Facebook Goes Down? Ethical and Legal Considerations for the Demise of Big Tech Platforms' by Carl Ohman and Nikita 'Artificial Intelligence Crime: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Foreseeable Threats and Solutions' by Thomas King, Nikita, Mariarosario Taddeo and Luciano FloridiPost Block Status & visibility Visibility Public Publish September 18, 2020 1:09 pm Stick to the top of the blog Author John Danaher Enable AMP Move to trash 9 Revisions Permalink Categories Uncategorized Podcast Add New Category Tags Add New Tag Separate with commas or the Enter key. Featured image Excerpt Discussion Open publish panel NotificationsCode editor selected Subscribe to the newsletter
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 Topics covered in this show include The history of algorithmic decision-making in criminal justiceModern AI tools in criminal justiceThe problem of biased decision-makingExamples of bias in practiceThe FAT (Fairness, Accountability and Transparency) approach to biasCan we de-bias algorithms using formal, technical rules?Can we de-bias algorithms through proper review and oversight?Should we be more critical of the data used to build these systems?Problems with pre-trial risk assessment measuresThe abolitionist perspective on criminal justice reform Relevant Links Chelsea's homepageChelsea on Twitter"Beyond Bias: Reimagining the terms "Ethical AI" in Criminal Law" by ChelseaVideo presentation of this paper"Studying up: reorienting the study of algorithmic fairness around issues of power." by Chelsea and orsKleinberg et al on the impossibility of fairnessKleinberg et al on using algorithms to detect discriminationThe Condemnation of Blackness by Khalil Gibran Muhammad Subscribe to the newsletter
 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 worried about responsibility gaps for autonomous systems? What are some of the alleged solutions to the "gap" problem? Who are the techno-pessimists and who are the techno-optimists? Why does Daniel think that there is no techno-responsibility gap? Is our application of responsibility concepts to machines overly metaphorical?  Relevant Links Daniel's ResearchGATE profile Daniel's papers on Philpapers "There is no Techno-Responsibility Gap" by Daniel "Artificial Intelligence, Responsibility Attribution, and a Relational Justification of Explainability" by Mark Coeckelbergh Technologically blurred accountability? by Kohler, Roughley and Sauer Subscribe to the newsletter
   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 people worried about responsibility gaps arising as a result of the widespread deployment of robots? How should we think about human-robot collaborations? Why should human drivers be more like self-driving cars? Can we be friends with a robot? Why does Sven reject my theory of ethical behaviourism? Should we be pessimistic about the future of roboethics?Relevant Links Sven's Homepage Sven on Philpapers Humans and Robots: Ethics, Agency and Anthropomorphism 'Can a robot be a good colleague?' by Sven and Jilles Smids 'Attributing Agency to Automated Systems: Reflections on Human–Robot Collaborations and Responsibility-Loci' by Sven 'Automated Cars Meet Human Drivers: Responsible Human-Robot Coordination and The Ethics of Mixed Traffic' by Sven and Jilles Smids  Subscribe to the newsletter
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 distinguish between the ethical value of an explanation and its epistemic value?Why is it so technically difficult to make AI explainable?Will we ever have a technical solution to the explanation problem?Why does Scott think there is Catch 22 involved in insisting on explainable AI?When should we insist on explanations and when are they unnecessary?Should we insist on using boring AI?  Relevant LinksScotts's webpageScott's paper "A Misdirected Principle with a Catch: Explicability for AI"Scott's paper "The Value of Transparency: Bulk Data and Authorisation""The Right to an Explanation Explained" by Margot KaminskiEpisode 36 - Wachter on Algorithms and Explanations  Subscribe to the newsletter
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 debates about consentDigital contact tracing and digital quarantinesThe ethics of digital contact tracingIs the value of digital contact tracing being oversold?The relationship between testing and contact tracingCOVID 19 as an important moment in the fight for privacyThe data economy in light of COVID 19The ethics of immunity passportsThe importance of focusing on the right things in responding to COVID 19  Relevant LinksCarissa's WebpageCarissa's Twitter feed (a treasure trove of links about privacy and surveillance)Views on Privacy: A Survey by Sian Brooke and Carissa VélizData, Privacy and the Individual by Carissa VélizScience paper on the value of digital contact tracingThe Apple-Google proposal for digital contact tracing''The new normal': China's excessive coronavirus public monitoring could be here to stay' 'In Coronavirus Fight, China Gives Citizens a Color Code, With Red Flags''To curb covid-19, China is using its high-tech surveillance tools''Digital surveillance to fight COVID-19 can only be justified if it respects human rights''Why ‘Mandatory Privacy-Preserving Digital Contact Tracing’ is the Ethical Measure against COVID-19' by Cansu Canca'The COVID-19 Tracking App Won't Work' 'What are 'immunity passports' and could they help us end the coronavirus lockdown?''The case for ending the Covid-19 pandemic with mass testing'  Subscribe to the newsletter
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?Why do the media discuss 'soaring' death rates and 'grim' statistics?Are we ignoring the unintended health consequences of COVID 19?Should we take the economic costs more seriously given the link between poverty/inequality and health outcomes?Did the UK government mishandle the response to the crisis? Are they blameworthy for what they did?Is it fair to criticise governments for their handling of the crisis?Is it okay for governments to experiment on their populations in response to the crisis?Relevant LinksDavid's Profile Page at the University of Basel'The Vital Contexts of Coronavirus' by David'The Slow Dragon and the Dim Sloth: What can the world learn from coronavirus responses in Italy and the UK?' by Marcello Ienca and David Shaw'Don't let the ethics of despair infect the ICU' by David Shaw, Dan Harvey and Dale Gardiner'Deaths in New York City Are More Than Double the Usual Total' in the NYT (getting the context right?!)Preliminary results from German Antibody tests in one town: 14% of the population infectedDo Death Rates Go Down in a Recession?The Sun's Good Friday headlineSubscribe to the newsletter
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This is my favorite podcast. It's absolutely excellent.

Aug 19th
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