“Responsible” AI

by Fabio Tollon What do we mean when we talk about “responsibility”? We say things like “he is a responsible parent”, “she is responsible for the safety of the passengers”, “they are responsible for the financial crisis”, and in each case the concept of “responsibility” seems to be tracking different meanings. In the first sense…

More Than Just Design: Affordances as Embodying Value in Technological Artifacts

by Fabio Tollon It is natural to assume that technological artifacts have instrumental value. That is, the value of given technology lies in the various ways in which we can use it, no more, and no less. For example, the value of a hammer lies in our ability to make use of it to hit…

GPT-3 Understands Nothing

by Fabio Tollon It is becoming increasingly common to talk about technological systems in agential terms. We routinely hear about facial recognition algorithms that can identify individuals, large language models (such as GPT-3) that can produce text, and self-driving cars that can, well, drive. Recently, Forbes magazine even awarded GPT-3 “person” of the year for…

Towards Responsible Research and Innovation

by Fabio Tollon In the media it is relatively easy to find examples of new technologies that are going “revolutionize” this or that industry. Self-driving cars will change the way we travel and mitigate climate change, genetic engineering will allow for designer babies and prevent disease, superintelligent AI will turn the earth into an intergalactic…

Can We Ensure Fairness with Digital Contact Tracing?

by Fabio Tollon COVID-19 has forced populations into lockdown, seen the restriction of rights, and caused widespread economic, social, and psychological harm. With only 11 countries having no confirmed cases of COVID-19 (as of this writing), we are globally beyond strategies that aim solely at containment. Most resources are now being directed at mitigation strategies.…

Are We Asking the Right Questions About Artificial Moral Agency?

by Fabio Tollon Human beings are agents. I take it that this claim is uncontroversial. Agents are that class of entities capable of performing actions. A rock is not an agent, a dog might be. We are agents in the sense that we can perform actions, not out of necessity, but for reasons. These actions…

Yes, Another Essay on AI

by Fabio Tollon You’ve heard about AI. Either it’s coming for your job (automation), your partner (sex robots), or your internet history (targeted adverts). Each of the aforementioned represent very serious threats (or improvements, depending on your predilections) to the economy, romantic relationships, and the nature of privacy and consent respectively. But what exactly is…