Category Archives: philosophy

You cannot learn anything from AI technology that makes moral judgements. Do this instead

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Apparently…

Researchers at an artificial intelligence lab in Seattle called the Allen Institute for AI unveiled new technology last month that was designed to make moral judgments. They called it Delphi, after the religious oracle consulted by the ancient Greeks. Anyone could visit the Delphi website and ask for an ethical decree.

What can I say? Well, for one thing, I am embarrassed for my profession that anyone takes that system seriously. It’s a joke. Anyone who has done any reading on ethics or morality can tell you very quickly that any moral decision of weight cannot be resolved with a formula. The Delphi system can’t make moral decisions. It’s like ELIZA: it could sound like a doctor but it couldn’t really help you with your mental health problem.

Too often people from IT blunder into a field, reduce the problems in them to something computational, produce a new system, and yell “Eureka!”.  The lack of humility is embarrassing.

What IT people should do is spend time reading and thinking about ethics and morality.. If they did, they’d be better off. If you are one of those people, go to fivebooks.com and search for “ethics” or “moral”. From those books you will learn something. You cannot learn anything from the Delphi system.

P.S. For more on that Delphi system, see: Can a Machine Learn Morality? – The New York Times.

(Photo by Gabriella Clare Marino on Unsplash )

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Should philosophy be useful?


I don’t know. But if you have thoughts about it, or about philosophy in the 20th century, you should consider this piece: What is truth? On Ramsey, Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle | Aeon Essays

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On recent pessimism, or not being born or staying alive


Two pessimistic articles that made a big impact on me recently are this The Case for Not Being Born | The New Yorker  and this I am not always very attached to being alive.

I think there is a strong case for being born (many, in fact) and also many reasons to be attached to being alive. But it is not nonsense to think otherwise. I think those articles bear that out.

I like that image: depending on your frame of mind, it is someone floating and enjoying the water, or someone reaching out for help. No form of thinking is more important than how you align your thoughts; everything follows from there.

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The problem with falsificationism

An interesting critique of it here:  Why falsificationism is false

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The philosopher Karl Popper in Scientific American

This is one of those things that popped up via Pocket, yesterday: The Paradox of Karl Popper – Scientific American Blog Network

It’s odd, because the interview is old, and Popper has been dead for sometime. Odd or not, it is still a worthwhile interview of the philosopher. The interviewer seems to capture the spirit and the essential ideas of the man in the three hours he spoke with him.

Worthwhile for anyone interested in philosophy or science.