Tuesday, April 18, 2017

On the granting of moral rights

If you gratuitously kick a cat, you are guilty of sadism; if you smash a laptop you are guilty of vandalism. There is a moral distinction.

Sometimes animals and people are not considered moral agents. It is said that in mediaeval times there was no legal or moral objection to a knight killing a peasant. It was, however, seen as vandalism towards a factor of production.

Slaves were famously 'tools with voices'.

No-one has yet met with any AI system and taken a moral stance towards it; no-one has yet worried about turning the power off. As far out as we can see, new and exciting 'deep learning' AI systems are just better tools.

In theory their very power should boost productivity but who gets the benefit? We over-produce generic graduates and consequently don't pay them much. A talented AI engineer can expect a six figure income pretty soon into their career. But what they know is technical and complicated: STEM remains a minority pastime.


Overproduction of wannabe elites is such a poor idea.

We really do need to find them something worthwhile to do.

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