Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Filling an Ethical Gap in Computer Science

Computer scientists, A.I. people and technologists like to wax moralistic about the "Turing Test," according to which a machine deserves consideration as a person, if a regular person can't tell it isn't one.

As if it were only persons we have duties toward and relationships with!

As if the day won't come first when we can still tell full well that's no person, but we're stumped to tell whether or not we're exchanging messages with a chimpanzee. Is it the view of people in the field of artificial intelligence that chimpanzees have no rights?! Maybe I ought to be teaching that machine in the other room sign language.

If ordinary people can't distinguish a fuzzy-logical machine from a baby penguin, furthermore, how are we to stand by obliviously as programmers zap its PRAM or reboot it?

We need a new movement: "People for the Engineering of Turing Tests for Animals" or PETTA, let's say.

If it walks and talks like a duck, after all, who's to say I can't order it to go with extra plum sauce? Let their robot pry the chopsticks from my cold dead fingers.

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