IFA International 2019 DAY 1 Edition

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MACHINES AS ADVISORS:

HOW FAR WILL IT ALL GO?

Robert Sparrow’s presentation at

this year’s IFA+ Summit centres on

“How relying upon machines to give

us advice might corrode our ability

to reason about ends”. We asked him

to tell us more.

It’s true that people already find it difficult to

reason about means. No-one can read maps

anymore, no-one can do maths anymore,

and no-one can spell anymore. The dominant

understanding is that it is fine to hand off that

kind of thing to machines, because we get to

choose our own ends. Increasingly, however,

people are asking digital agents broader

questions, like “How do I find a boyfriend?”

or “What should I do today?”, which appear

to be questions about ends. I look at the

connection between reasoning about means

and reasoning about ends, as well as whether

it matters. Does this advice differ from selfhelp

books, for instance? I can pick up a selfhelp

book which tells me how to lead my life

better. If I had an app on my phone, would that

be any different?

Who should come to your talk?

Anyone interested in what it means to be

human in the age of digital assistants. How

can you retain your agency and your humanity

when interacting with very powerful devices

that might well be quite morally dangerous?

This is about how these systems are affecting

what we think. It’s our autonomy, our agency,

our capacity to think for ourselves, that is

the most important thing about us, and we

are risking that by relying on the advice of

machines

Okay, Google: Lead My Life

Date: Sunday 8 September 2019

Time: 11:00 am - 1:00pm

Location: Hall 26b - GRAND THEATRE

Pak-Hang Wong,

Research Associate, Hamburg University

Robert Sparrow

Professor of Philosophy, Monash University, Melbourne

HOW CAN YOU

RETAIN YOUR AGENCY

AND YOUR HUMANITY

WHEN INTERACTING

WITH VERY POWERFUL

DEVICES THAT MIGHT

WELL BE QUITE

MORALLY DANGEROUS?

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE

WHEN SYSTEMS DO WRONG?

IF THESE

TECHNOLOGIES

AND SYSTEMS

DO WRONGS,

ARE WE ALSO

RESPONSIBLE?

Data-driven technologies and artificial intelligence

systems have raised numerous social, ethical, and political

questions. We asked researcher Pak-Hang Wong, from

the University of Hamburg, to tell us a little bit about his

presentation this year at the IFA+ Summit.

Data-driven technologies and

Artificial intelligence systems have

been steadily integrated into our

everyday life.

It is important to remember

that not only companies and

government agencies are using

these technologies but we are

also using them every day—

either directly or indirectly. If so,

a significant question arises: If

these technologies and systems do

wrongs, are we also responsible?

Intuitively, our answer is probably

‘no’. Yet, data-driven technologies

and AI systems are “sociotechnological

assemblages’, and

we do play an essential role in their

proper functioning. At the Ethics in

Information Technology Research

Group of the University of Hamburg,

my current research focuses on how

information technology affects

our responsibility and whether we

should develop and create machines

that can influence our emotions.

Much of your work has to do with

ethics in technology. How does this

apply to the world of consumer

technical goods in particular?

If, indeed, we are responsible

for the wrongs of data-driven

technologies and artificial

intelligence systems, then we need

to think more carefully about our

relations with these technologies

and systems. In other words, I think

we need to reconsider the role of

consumers in an age of Dataism.

Who should come to your talk?

My talk will be of interest to

people who are interested in the

social, ethical and political roles

of users and consumers of datadriven

technologies and artificial

intelligence systems. I will argue

in my talk that we are indeed

responsible for the wrongs of these

technologies and systems

Cog in the Machine!

Responsibility and Data-Driven

technologies

Date: Sunday 8 September 2019

Time: 11:00 am - 1:00pm

Location: Hall 26b - GRAND

THEATRE

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