• Can a Machine Be a Gentleman? Machine Ethics and Ethical Machines

    Author(s):
    Ádám Tamás Bogár (see profile)
    Date:
    2013
    Subject(s):
    20th-century American literature, 20th-century American novel, Applied ethics, Computer history, Literature and philosophy
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Tag(s):
    Kurt Vonnegut, Machine Ethics, Alan Turing
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/czhp-bf36
    Abstract:
    Drawing upon the science-fictional elements of Vonnegut’s work, Ádám T. Bogár asks whether a machine can be a gentleman as a way to approach the human-versus-machine dichotomy, which is explored in a number of Vonnegut’s writings. For instance, the eponymous “hero” of the 1950 short story “EPICAC,” one of Vonnegut’s first publications, is a fictional heavy-duty supercomputer whose “personality” calls the classical hierarchy of human over machine into question. While machines with superhuman physical capabilities are pervasive in science fiction stories, computers morally superseding human are less easy to find. In this essay, Bogár reviews the human/machine relationship apparent in the short story, in Player Piano (which includes a computer named EPICAC XIV), and in other works. Drawing upon the ideas of British mathematician-cryptographer Alan Turing, Bogár considers how Turing’s concerns about machine intelligence are embodied in Vonnegut’s work, and discusses a possible world where these concerns have become reality.
    Notes:
    Preprint.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Book chapter    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    5 months ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
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