The Ethics of Chatbots

0x01 The Ethics of Chatbots

We need to have that "ethics" discussion soon.

The photo above is of the Nao robot, which has some of the most human-like movements of any robot currently on the market. As robots become more humanoid in behavior and appearance, will we be heading towards a robot civil rights movement? What will ultimately determine "life" and "consciousness" in thinking machines, and what rights will they have? If you ask me, AI research is in desperate need of hiring philosophers to start thinking of these issues now before things get even more complicated.

The Nao image comes from this Scientific American article on whether or not intelligent machines could own the rights to the things that they create. If intelligence dictates copyright, our very definition of an intelligent machine could set us up for some tricky legal arguments. The EU has already been debating this very thing with their Civil Law Rule of Robots, and a look at whether or not robots need special legal status.

Predicting End-of-Life Care

You want an ethical debate? Stanford University researchers have developed a neural network for determining the chance of a patient dying in a 3-to-12 month window, with the data meant to help create more effective end-of-life care for the patient. Health records are compared with a data set of 2 million others over a 20 year period, and the algorithm is currently in pilot mode. The concern for me is that this isn't a very far step from algorithms making triage decisions, and I'm not sure our data is unbiased enough to be relied on for such decisions.

Oh Millennials...

One of the commenters on this Daily Mail article mentions a new term: digisexual. From a survey of 12,000 people, 27% of respondents between the ages of 18-34 said that they could see having a romantic relationship with a robot. This is cherry-picking the most extreme response, but it does highlight how our relationships with digital assistants and robotics will change as they become more human-like.

Speaking of Digital Assistants

On our last podcast episode, Bill and I had a bit of a debate (more a discussion) about the role of Joi in the recent Blade Runner 2049 movie. SPOILERS: Some people have been suggesting that Joi did not evolve as a character, breaking out of her AI program in order to help K, while others believe that she evolved beyond her programming to truly care. What do you thing?

Building Bots!

I could always shamefully promote my own video tutorials, but James Mann has been at it longer, and his British accent is way sexier than my New Jersey pronunciations. He has some great video tutorials on building bots in C# with Microsoft's Bot Framework.

O'Connor Squibnocker Apple Cinnamon Saison

O'Connor Squibnocker Apple Cinnamon Saison

This was one of the beers that was either going to be really good, or really terrible. I saw the "apple cinnamon," and had to give it a try. I'm a fan of saison beer, so bear in mind that I'm accustomed the funkiness of farmhouse ales.

How was it? Surprisingly mild. The apple and cinnamon notes were aroma-based and didn't affect the flavor as much. The taste was traditional to a mild saison--more funk than spice, which is good. Saisons are variable depending on the brewer--some can be great, and some can be terrible. This one? Not at the top of my saison list, but definitely enjoyable--mostly for a nice Autumn evening.