If Your Robot Commits Murder, Should You Go to Jail?

Self-driving cars aren't the only emerging technology facing major questions about ethics and accountability.

Surprising Science

Just like automated vehicles, robots and advanced AI will require new sets of laws to define the extent of owner liability and accountability. Creating these laws will require an important ethical discussion: Who is at fault when a robot misbehaves? According to author Jerry Kaplan, there is a precedent for creating codes and consequences for robots that do not apply to others. Take, for example, the fact that criminal charges can be brought against corporations rather than the people operating beneath the corporate shell. Similarly, we can develop laws that would allow robots and their programming to stand trial.

Would You Buy a Car That’s Programmed to Kill You? You Just Might.

Author and entrepreneur Jerry Kaplan offers an interesting crash course on computational ethics, the idea that robots and machines will require programming to make them cognizant of morals, decorum, manners, and various other social nuances.

Videos

How will the computer controlling your automated car interact with pedestrians? Who will teach robots what's socially acceptable behavior and what is not? These are the sorts of questions on the minds of people like Jerry Kaplan, who in this video offers an interesting crash course on computational ethics. Robots and machines are going to need programming that makes them cognizant of decorum, manners, and various other social nuances. And as Kaplan notes, no one is really quite certain how it's all going to be done. This is because any technology that takes accountability and decision-making away from human "operators" is innately going to be drenched in uncomfortable, uncertain philosophical dilemmas. These are big issues that require a thorough social discussion. What are we willing to accept? Where do we draw the line? There might come a day when artificial intelligence is able to answer these questions by itself. Until then, we're responsible for shaping A.I. to suit our still-to-be-determined values.

How Amazon’s Algorithm Gets You to Spend Money

Companies like Amazon take advantage of the fact that they know a whole lot more about buying patterns than you do. As author and entrepreneur Jerry Kaplan explains, this sort of information asymmetry is the real crux of their business plan.

Technology & Innovation

Companies like Amazon take advantage of the fact they know a whole lot more about buying patterns than you do. As author and entrepreneur Jerry Kaplan explains, information asymmetry is the real crux of Amazon's business plan. That Amazon sells goods is incidental. The real money is generated by machine learning algorithms that can deftly achieve arbitrage: the ability to set prices in a way that maximizes profits. So the next time you spot a price shift for a product you've been keeping an eye on, know that a hyper-intelligent computer system has for just as long kept its eye on you, and it's smarter than you think.