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Center for Practical & Professional Ethics Sacramento State University

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18th Annual Fall Ethics Symposium: Ethics and Artificial Intelligence

(a co-production of Cosumnes River College and Sac State's Ethics Center)

October 9, 2023

A technological revolution in Artificial Intelligence (AI) is underway. At bottom, to borrow a description from IBM, AI "leverages computers and machines to mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind." Our speakers will offer perspectives on the prospects and ethical challenges around the use of AI.

University Union, Pacific Suite (3rd fl.)

10:30-10:50am Welcoming remarks

11am-12:20pm Michael Pelczar (National University of Singapore/UNC Chapel Hill)

Title: Requiem for HalAbstract: In theory, and increasingly in practice, it's possible to build machines with behavioral dispositions indistinguishable from those of ordinary human beings, but with internal wiring very different from ours. According to currently dominant functionalist theories of mind, it's doubtful that such machines are conscious or intelligent, since the mechanisms that ground their dispositions are so unlike the natural biological mechanisms that ground the same dispositions in us. According to less popular behaviorist theories, anything with suitable behavioral dispositions has a conscious mind, regardless of what grounds or underlies the dispositions (e.g., a human brain, or a computer running a descendant of ChatGPT, or whatever). Recent developments in AI give a new moral urgency to the debate between functionalists and behaviorists. If, as I argue, the behaviorists are right, then as technology delivers artificial intelligences with capabilities increasingly indistinguishable from those of natural intelligences, we should be increasingly cautious about the uses to which we put them--not just for our sake, but theirs.1:30pm-2:50pm Matt McCormick (CSU Sacramento)

Title: What Will We Owe the Machines? The AI Crisis of Morality Abstract: Most of the conversations about AI have focused on fears and hopes about what they might do to us. There's another side to this question: Classically, we have argued that there are properties in virtue of which humans warrant moral consideration: sentience, self-governance, rationality, autonomy, phenomenal experience, etc. Increasingly it appears that AI systems will soon possess those properties. So lest we be blatantly speciesist or prejudicial, they will deserve moral consideration from us. More importantly, they may have those properties at magnitudes that are 10x, 100x, or 1,000,000x what they are in humans. So their capacity to feel a thousand times as much pain, experience at 100 times the rate, or reproduce at 1,000 times the scale may lead to their moral needs and rights utterly swamping mere human needs. We may be on the verge of an AI super race moral explosion that renders human moral status and needs completely insignificant.

October 10, 2023

On the campus of Cosumnes River College, Winn Center, Room 150

10:30am-11:50am Rosolino Candela (George Mason University)

Title: Should 'Imperfect' Markets Be Replaced by Technosocialism? Abstract: Technological advances associated with computing power and the prospect of artificial intelligence have renewed interest on the economic feasibility of socialism. The question of such feasibility turns on whether the problem of economic calculation has fundamentally changed. In spite of the prospect of what King and Petty (2021) refer to as “technosocialism,” technological advances in computation cannot replace the competitive discovery process that takes place within the context of the market. Technosocialism incorrectly frames the “solution” to economic calculation under socialism as one of computing data, rather than the discovery of context-specific knowledge that only emerges through the exchange of property rights. Therefore, the arguments put forth by Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek, and later Israel Kirzner and Don Lavoie, regarding the impossibility of economic calculation under socialism remains just as relevant today.

12-1:20pm Panel Discussion on The Ethics of AI in Education