Moral Math of Robots: Can Life and Death Decisions Be Coded? | A Panel Discussion

Moral Math of Robots: Can Life and Death Decisions Be Coded? | A Panel Discussion
Moral Math of Robots: Can Life and Death Decisions Be Coded? | A Panel Discussion

A self-driving car has a split second to decide whether to turn into oncoming traffic or hit a child who has lost control of her bicycle. An autonomous drone needs to decide whether to risk the lives of a busload of civilians or lose a long-sought terrorist. How does a machine make an ethical decision? Can it “learn” to choose in situations that would strain human decision-making? Can morality be programmed? We will tackle these questions and more as the leading AI experts, roboticists, neuroscientists, and legal experts debate the ethics and morality of thinking machines.

Topics Covered

  • Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics
  • What is ALPHAGO?
  • Robots and automatic reasoning demonstration
  • What is the trolley problem?
  • Defining how artificial intelligence learns
  • Should we be afraid that AI will take over the world?

This program is part of the Big Ideas Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.

Bill Blakemore | News Correspondent: Bill Blakemore became a reporter for ABC News 46 years ago, covering a wide variety of stories. He spearheaded ABC’s coverage of global warming, traveling from the tropics to polar regions to report on its impacts, dangers, and possible remedies.

Fernando Diaz | Computer Scientist: Fernando Diaz is a senior researcher at Microsoft Research and a founding member of the MSR-NYC lab. Prior to joining Microsoft, Fernando was a senior scientist at Yahoo Research. His primary research interest is data mining and web search. His work in the ethics of online systems has been presented at several conferences. He is the co-organizer of the 2016 Workshop on the Ethics of Online Experimentation. He received a B.Sc. in Computer Science and a B.A. in Political Science, both from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His work has won several awards.

Wendell Wallach | Bioethicist: Wendell Wallach is a consultant, ethicist, and scholar at Yale University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics. He is also a senior advisor to The Hastings Center, a fellow at the Center for Law, Science & Innovation at the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law (Arizona State University), and a fellow at the Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technology. At Yale Wallach has chaired the Center’s working research group on Technology and Ethics for the past ten years. His latest book A Dangerous Master: How to keep technology from slipping beyond our control was published in June 2015 by BASIC Books. Wallach co-authored (with Colin Allen) Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right From Wrong. He also edited the eight volume series entitled, The Library of Essays on the Ethics of Emerging Technologies, which will be published by Routledge in the fall of 2016.

Colonel Linell Letendre | Military Officer, Law Professor: Colonel Linell Letendre is the permanent professor and Head of the Department of Law at the United States Air Force Academy. She leads a team of twenty faculty and staff in the design and teaching of nineteen core and elective law courses, in scholarship across a variety of disciplines, and in the development of officers of character. Colonel Letendre graduated from the Air Force Academy as a Distinguished Graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Astronautical Engineering, from University of Washington School of Law with a Juris Doctor with high honors, and as a Distinguished Graduate from the Eisenhower School, National Defense University with a Master of Science in National Security and Resource Strategy. Her current scholarship interests include the overlap of autonomy, national security, and ethics.

Colonel Letendre’s participation in this event does not indicate official endorsement of the event by the United States Air Force.

Matthias Scheutz | Roboticist, Cognitive Scientist, Philosopher: Matthias Scheutz is a professor at Tufts University School of Engineerings Computer Science Department, and is director of the Human-Robot Interaction Laboratory. Scheutz’s current research and teaching interests focus on complex cognitive and affective robots with natural language capabilities for human-robot interaction. He is co-director of Tufts interdisciplinary program in cognitive and brain science, and is a program manager of the new Center for Applied Brain and Cognitive Sciences joint program with the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center.

Gary Marcus | Cognitive Psychologist: Gary Marcus, scientist, bestselling author, and entrepreneur, is Professor of Psychology and Neural Science at NYU and CEO and Co-Founder of the recently-formed Geometric Intelligence, Inc. His research on language, computation, artificial intelligence, and cognitive development has been published widely, in leading journals such as Science and Nature. He is also the author of four books including The Algebraic Mind, Kluge: The Haphazard Evolution of the Human Mind, and The New York Times Bestseller, Guitar Zero, and contributes frequently to the The New Yorker and The New York Times. His recent book, The Future of the Brain: Essays By The World’s Leading Neuroscientists, features the 2014 Nobel Laureates May-Britt and Edvard Moser. His efforts to update the Turing Test have spurred a worldwide movement.