Archive for April, 2008

Final Paper Topic

Posted in Uncategorized on April 29, 2008 by wkoller

For the final paper I would like to argue that robots should not fulfill positions in our lives that would otherwise be occupied by a human being (or animal perhaps in some case). For example in class a few weeks ago we talked about AIBO the robotic dog and the old man who had one instead of having lets say a cat or real dog (out of necessity). I would argue that the relationship between the man and AIBO cannot compare (even if in 50 years AIBO is more advanced) to that of man and a real dog as AIBO cannot develop real attachment or remote love to its owner.

I think the main argument against my stance would be that there are many people, such as this old man, who cannot have a relationship with a real dog, or in some situation with other people, and that it would be better to have a robot than to have nothing.

The sources I plan to focus on are from our weeks on Emotions (Turkle and Sloman) and from Cultural and Social Selves (Damasio).


The Continuum of Consciousness and Fame

Posted in Uncategorized on April 24, 2008 by mbialek

1) A statement of your thesis, which you will argue for and defend.

My thesis will be, as I have begun to argue for in previous posts, that consciousness is not some discreet line over which some beings manage to step, but rather it is a continuum along which all things can be placed.

2) A statement of the main objection to your thesis, which you will respond to.

The biggest threat that I see to this thesis is the idea that consciousness is something distinct from it constituents, and must therefore be “achieved” by some set of necessary and sufficient conditions.

3) A summary of articles, authors and ideas which you will use in your argument.

I think the bulk of my project (including the refutation of the objection above) will be to reconcile the idea of consciousness as a continuum with the consciousness as fame or clout theory presented in Dennett, D. (2001) “Are We Explaining Consciousness Yet?” Cognition 79: 221-237.

The argument will also draw on the idea of so called “zombie agents” (Koch, C. and F. C. Crick (2001) “The Zombie Within,” Nature (2001) 411, 893-893) as those beings which would fall bellow the classical line of consciousness.


Posted in Uncategorized on April 23, 2008 by tamarswerdel

My paper will examine “Turing tests” for other kinds of intelligence, most likely bodily intelligence in particular. I’ll discuss the validity of a test like the Robo-cup challenge, and what a robot with bodily-intelligence (a kinesthetic agent, perhaps?) would imply for sports and society. Making robots move, and thus look, more human will change people’s reactions towards them.

The paper will turn on works pertaining to the Robo-cup challenge, and whatever else I can find about robot kinesthetics, as well as adaptive mechanisms such as those discussed by Ashby in “Can a Mechanical Chess-Player Outplay Its Designer?”


Posted in Uncategorized on April 22, 2008 by davindo

1)  The emotions of pain and pleasure drive humans.  An emotion is just a state of mind which is always caused for a reason.  Robots need this pain and pleasure to be truly human.

2)  Humans are driven by more then their pain and pleasure.  They have other goals that can be more important.  Also it might not be relevant for robots to experience pain and pleasure to be human.
3) Some articles I am thinking about using.  Will get more comprehensive later.

“Pain” MIT Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999.

Koch, C. and F. C. Crick (2001) “The Zombie Within,” Nature (2001) 411, 893-893

McCarthy, John (1999) “Making robots Conscious of their Mental States,” in Stephen Muggleton (ed.) Machine Intelligence 15, Oxford University Press.

Fellous, J. M. (2004) “From Human Emotions to Robot Emotions,” American Association for Artificial Intelligence – Spring Symposium 3/2004, Stanford University – Keynote Lecture.

Sloman, A. and M. Croucher (1981) “Why Robots Will Have Emotions,” Proceedings of IJCAI, Vancouver.Interview with Sherry Turkle “What Will Love Come to Mean?”

Final Paper: Interpretting the Chinese Room through Qualia

Posted in Weekly Assignments on April 22, 2008 by jdimatteo

1) I will explore Searle’s Chinese Room in terms of qualia, argue for the elimination of qualia, and address the question of machine personhood without qualia.

2) I believe Searle supports qualia, but I need to do more work to find exactly who and how they argue towards qualia.

3) Possible Sources

Searle, J., 1980, ‘Minds, Brains and Programs’ — presents the Chinese Room

Block, N. 1980 “Troubles with Functionalism” — presents the billion Chinese thought experiment

Dennet 1999, The Zombic Hunch: Extinction of an Intuition — argues against the notion of zombies

Chalmers 1996, “The conscious mind” — Argues that the Chinese Room should be considered in terms of consciousness and qualia.  Gives thought experiments arguing against qualia in humans but in no other systems.  Discusses zombies.

Nagel, Thomas. “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” — discusses “what-it’s-likeness”

Posted in Uncategorized on April 22, 2008 by pdennis

My midterm paper dealt with the subject of moral questions that come along with the creation of machines that seem to deserve the status of personhood. It was primarily concerned with the responsibilities of the human creators of these machines. My proposed final paper will also investigate moral issues that result from the creation of hypothetical machines that seem to deserve the status of personhood, but it will be concerned with the responsibilities of the machines themselves. It will especially focus on person-machines in which the traits that seem to establish human personhood are not only present, but present to a higher degree then they are in humans. Two of the many questions that this subject raises are: What responsibilities do these superhuman person-machines have to the inferior human race that created them? What does this say about our responsibilities to lesser developed species?

I would prefer, pending approval, to write this paper in a similar way as I did my midterm paper. Rather than an argumentative paper with a strong thesis (which would give my paper an undesirable rigidity and not particularity well deserved tone of authority on this highly speculative subject) I would like to write it as a preliminary exploration on the subject. This starting point will provide the ability to objectively look at questions, especially questions of morality where there is no particular philosophical consensus, and selectively apply different ideas in order analyze their philosophical implications. This will provide the foundation from which I can begin to determine the nature of a reasonable philosophical standpoint on the matter, and the problems such a standpoint would need to overcome.

Sources that I would list would not be particularly meaningful, as they will certainly be subject to change over the course of the paper writing process.

Final Paper Proposal (Architecture of Emotional Value)

Posted in Weekly Assignments on April 22, 2008 by mpcarino

I will argue that emotions function in a way that help us weigh and give value to actions and objects in our world and that we use these values to make rational decisions. I will then go on to discuss how this may be integrated into a robot, whether it should be done using a Top-down, Bottom-up, or a Hybrid approach.

Allen, Colin, Iva Smit, and Wendell Wallach (2005).
“Artificial morality: Top-down, bottom-up, and
hybrid approaches,” Ethics and Information
Technology, 7:149-155.

Damasio, A. (2003) “Feelings of Emotion and the Self,” Annals of the New York Academy of Science 1001, 253-261.

Sloman, A., R. Chrisley, and M. Scheutz (2003) “The Architectural Basis of Affective States and Processes” long manuscript version

Sloman, A., and R. Chrisley (2003) “Virtual Machines and Consciousness,” Journal of Consciousness Studies 10 (4-5).