Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence 2020

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Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence

Draft Schedule


“Making AI Meaningful Again” [1]

“There is no General AI” [2]

Wed Feb 19 13:30-17:15 4h

Introduction to philosophy for AI scientists
A practical problem -- the need for consistently curated data
How ontology can solve this problem
The history of philosophy from an ontological perspective
How philosophy can benefit AI science - the case of HL7

Thu Feb 20 09:30 - 12:15 3h

Searle's Chinese Room argument
Intelligence vs. consciousness
What is intelligence and what do intelligence tests measure?
Driverless philosophy: How data science can help
the history of philosophy
to make progress in philosophy
There is no general AI

Fri Feb 21 09:30 - 12:15 3h

The cycles of AI enthusiasm and AI winters
Making AI Meaningful Again
Basic Formal Ontology (ISO/IEC 21838-2)
Upper Level Ontologies

Thu May 14 15:30 - 18:15 3h

The Turing test
AI is a family of algorithms to automate repetitive events
Deep neural networks have nothing to do with neurons
AI is not artificial intelligence; it is a branch of mathematics in which the attempt is made to use the Turing machine to its limits by using gigantically large amounts of data
Paper:There is no general AI

Student presentations

Carola Calabrese: Universal Intelligence - A definition of Machine intelligence
[3] -->
Lorenzo Bucci: Making AI Meaningful Again
[4] -->
Emanuele Martinelli: Minds, Brains and Programs
[5] -->
Vinicius Emmanuel Bloise: The Limits of Machine Intelligence
[6] -->
Hrishikesh Gupta: Creativity and Artificial Intelligence
[7] -->

Fri May 15 15:30 - 18:15 3h

Wittgenstein and the Turing Test: Part 2


AI and Transhumanism: Can we download the contents of our brains onto a computer and become immortal? Scott Adams: We are living in a simulation]
AI and the meaning of life:
AI and The Matrix

Student presentations

Elia Claudio Esposito: Rationality and Intelligence
Wei Huang: Solomonoff Induction Violates Nicod's Criterion
Andrea dell'Orso: The Elephant Doesn't Play Chess
Michael Denzler: Artificial Life and the Chinese Room Argument
Fabiana Ballarin: Alan Turing and the Mathematical Objection
Marco Marabello: In Defense of Truth: Skepticism, Morality, and The Matrix

Tue May 19 14:30 - 17:15 3h

Affordances and the background of Artificial Intelligence
Making AI Meaningful Again
Applications of AI to intelligence analysis
Case study: using sentiment analysis for the prediction of terrorist radicalization

Student presentations

Hrittik Roy: Theoretical Impediments to Machine Learning: The Role of Causal Modelling
Xintan Lin: The Basic AI Drives
David Limacher: Incorporating Ethics into Artificial Intelligence
Tommaso Soriani: Mind Embodied and Embedded
André Garcia Gomez: What to Do with the Singularity Paradox

Wed May 20 15:30 - 18:15 3h

The problem of meaningful AI
AI and intelligence analysis
The Cognitive Process Ontology

Student presentations:

Mauro Mario Gentile: Can Computer Based Human-Likeness Endanger Humanness?
Sebastian Obrist: Does Ontology Rest on a Mistake?
Eric Tremolanti: Why Machine Ethics?
Michael Mazourik: The Social Dilemma of Autonomous Vehicles
Alessandro Cecconi: Which Symbol Grounding Problem Should We Try to Solve?

Tue May 26 14:30 - 17:15 3h

Driverless philosophy / Philosophy on rails

Wed May 27 14:30 - 17:15 3h

Dialogue with Jobst Landgrebe (Cognotekt, Cologne) on the Social Impact of AI

Further Background Reading

Jordan Peterson's Essay Writing Guide
Gerald J. Erion and Barry Smith, “In Defense of Truth: Skepticism, Morality, and The Matrix”, in W. Irwin (ed.), Philosophy and The Matrix, La Salle and Chicago: Open Court, 2002, 16–27.
Max More and Natasha Vita-More (Eds.), The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future, Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.
Jobst Landgrebe and Barry Smith, “Making AI Meaningful Again”, Synthese, DOI 10.1007/s11229-019-02192-y

Advance Notice of 2021 Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence course


Monday February 22 2021 14:30 - 17:15 (3h)

Tuesday February 23 2021 14:30 - 17:15 (3h)

Wednesday February 24 2021 09:30 - 12:15 (3h)

Monday May 10 2021 09:30 - 12:15 (3h)

Tuesday May 11 2021 14:30 - 17:15 (3h)

Wednesday May 12 2021 09:30 - 12:15 (3h)

Monday May 17 2021 14:30 - 17:15 (3h)

Tuesday May 18 2021 14:30 - 17:15 (3h)

Wednesday May 19 2021 08:30 - 12:15 (4h)

Course Description

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the subfield of Computer Science devoted to developing programs that enable computers to display behavior that can (broadly) be characterised as intelligent. On the strong version, the ultimate goal of AI is to create an artificial system that is as intelligent as a human being. Recent striking successes such as AlphaGo have convinced many not only that this objective is obtainable but also that in a not too distant future machines will become even more intelligent than human beings.

The actual and possible developments in AI open up a series of striking questions such as:

  • Can a computer have a conscious mind,
  • Can it have desires and emotions?
  • Would machine intelligence, if there is such a thing, be something comparable to human intelligence or something quite different?

In addition, these developments make it possible for us to consider a series of philosophical questions in a new light, including:

  • What is personal identity? Could a machine have something like a personal identity? Would I really survive if the contents of my brain were uploaded to the cloud?
  • What is it for a human to behave in an ethical manner? (Could there be something like machine ethics? Could machines used in fighting wars be programmed to behave ethically?)
  • What is a meaningful life? If routine, meaningless work in the future is performed entirely by machines, will this make possible new sorts of meaningful lives on the part of humans?

After introducing the relevant ideas and tools from both AI and philosophy, all the aforementioned questions will be thoroughly addressed in class discussions following lectures by Drs Facchini and Smith and presentations of relevant papers by the students.