Re: AI ethics (was The Truman Show)

Kathryn Aegis (
Mon, 22 Jun 1998 18:34:00 -0700 (PDT)

At 08:31 AM 6/21/98 -0600, Michael Nielsen wrote (among other illuminating
>Is it ethical to contain an AI in a limited world? <snip>
>Is it ethical to broadcast details of an AI's "life" to other
>researchers or interested parties?
>Is it ethical to profit from the actions of an AI?
>None of these questions is new, however I found that they were made
>especially vivid by the movie. I'm not sure of any of the answers. I
>have an instinctive revulsion against Cristof's position, but I can imagine
>giving a qualified "yes" as the answer to all of the above questions,
>under some circumstances.

The movie did highlight how very classical these questions are, how they
were so vividly delineated in the works of Virgil, Homer, et al. One could
take a futurist view of the ancient epics and say that they provided an
outlet for the culture's frustration at technological limitation--ancient
cultures highly prized innovation and forging new paths of intellect.
Classical gods epitomized various human foibles and faults--symbolic straw
men to rail against, fear, hold in awe, spur humans on to greater
achievement. With the ushering in of the single, abstract god, humans
relinquished that pragmatic view of deity and ushered in a dark period of
subjugation that we are only just now beginning to climb out of.


Kathryn Aegis