An article that my colleague Ankur Gupta and I wrote together, exploring the intersection of science fiction, artificial intelligence, wisdom, ethics, and religion, has appeared in a special issue of the journal Religions. The special issue is titled “So Say We All: Religion and Society in Science Fiction” and our article has the title “Writing a Moral Code: Algorithms for Ethical Reasoning by Humans and Machines.” Here’s the abstract:
The moral and ethical challenges of living in community pertain not only to the intersection of human beings one with another, but also our interactions with our machine creations. This article explores the philosophical and theological framework for reasoning and decision-making through the lens of science fiction, religion, and artificial intelligence (both real and imagined). In comparing the programming of autonomous machines with human ethical deliberation, we discover that both depend on a concrete ordering of priorities derived from a clearly defined value system.
If the article seems too long to keep your interest, the XKCD cartoon below about Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics sums up one crucial point that we explore. But I really do hope that the cartoon will whet your appetite to want to see what we do with it, rather than seeming acceptable as a substitute for reading it!
The journal, being open access online, makes articles available as soon as they are through the peer review and editing processes. Ours was the first through that process, and I’m eagerly looking forward to reading what the other contributions turn out to be!
Elsewhere online, you can explore some recent articles related to at least some aspects of these intersections, if not always quite as many of the threads as Ankur and I sought to incorporate:
In the European Union, the decision was made recently to recognize robots as persons – in the same sense that corporations can be persons before the law.
Lots from (or via) 3 quarks daily:
A couple from Steve Wiggins:
Finally, let me link to a classic article by Robert Geraci about AI.