Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

90 - The Future of Identity

What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be you? Philosophers, psychologists and sociologists all seem to agree that your identity is central to how you think of yourself and how you engage with others. But how are emerging technologies changing how we enact and constitute our identities? That's the subject matter of this podcast with Tracey Follows. Tracy is a professional futurist. She runs a consultancy firm called Futuremade. She is a regular writer and speaker on futurism. She has appeared on the BBC and is a contributing columnist with Forbes. She is also a member of the Association of Professional Futuriss and the World Futures Studies Federation. We talk about her book The Future of You: Can your identity survive the 21st Century?You can download the podcast here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).  Show NotesTopics covered in this episode include:The nature of identityThe link between technology and identityIs technology giving us more creative control over identity?Does technology encourage more conformity and groupthink?Is our identity being fragmented by technology?Who controls the technology of identity formation?How should we govern the technology of identity formation in the future?Relevant LinksThe Future of You by TraceyTracey on TwitterTracey at ForbesFuturemade consultancyTracey's talk to the London Futurists [More]

89 - Is Morality All About Cooperation?

What are the origins and dynamics of human morality? Is morality, at root, an attempt to solve basic problems of cooperation? What implications does this have for the future? In this episode, I chat to Dr Oliver Scott Curry about these questions. We discuss, in particular, his theory of morality as cooperation (MAC). Dr Curry is Research Director for Kindlab, at kindness.org. He is also a Research Affiliate at the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford, and a Research Associate at the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science, at the London School of Economics. He received his PhD from LSE in 2005. Oliver’s academic research investigates the nature, content and structure of human morality. He tackles such questions as: What is morality? How did morality evolve? What psychological mechanisms underpin moral judgments? How are moral values best measured? And how does morality vary across cultures? To answer these questions, he employs a range of techniques from philosophy, experimental and social psychology and comparative anthropology. You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).  #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving [More]

87 - AI and the Value Alignment Problem

How do we make sure that an AI does the right thing? How could we do this when we ourselves don't even agree on what the right thing might be? In this episode, I talk to Iason Gabriel about these questions. Iason is a political theorist and ethicist currently working as a Research Scientist at DeepMind. His research focuses on the moral questions raised by artificial intelligence. His recent work addresses the challenge of value alignment, responsible innovation, and human rights. He has also been a prominent contributor to the debate about the ethics of effective altruism.You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here). Show Notes:Topics discussed include:What is the value alignment problem?Why is it so important that we get value alignment right?Different ways of conceiving the problemHow different AI architectures affect the problemWhy there can be no purely technical solution to the value alignment problemSix potential solutions to the value alignment problemWhy we need to deal with value pluralism and uncertaintyHow political theory can help to resolve the problem Relevant LinksIason on Twitter"Artificial Intelligence, Values and Alignment" by Iason"Effective Altruism and its Critics" by IasonMy blog series on the above article"Social Choice Ethics in Artificial Intelligence" by Seth Baum [More]

86 - Are Video Games Immoral?

Have you ever played Hitman? Grand Theft Auto? Call of Duty? Did you ever question the moral propriety of what you did in those games? In this episode I talk to Sebastian Ostritsch about the ethics of video games. Sebastian is an Assistant Prof. (well, technically, he is a Wissenschaftlicher mitarbeiter but it's like an Assistant Prof) of Philosophy based at Stuttgart University in Germany. He has the rare distinction of being both an expert in Hegel and the ethics of computer games. He is the author of Hegel: Der Welt-Philosoph (published this year in German) and is currently running a project, funded by the German research body DFG, on the ethics of computer games.You can download the episode here or listen below. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcasting services (the RSS feed is here).Show NotesTopics discussed include:The nature of video gamesThe problem of seemingly immoral video game contentThe amorality thesis: the view that playing video games is morally neutralDefences of the amorality thesis: it's not real and it's just a game.Problems with the 'it's not real' and 'it's just a game' arguments.The Gamer's Dilemma: Why do people seem to accept virtual murder but not, say, virtual paedophilia?Resolving the gamer's dilemmaThe endorsement view of video game morality: some video games might be immoral if they endorse an immoral worldviewHow these ideas apply to other forms of fictional media, [More]

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Dr. Peter Boghossian
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