Bioethics Blogs

Finding Personhood in a Burrito

Mark Wilson over at Fast Company discusses “Chef Watson” and it’s many unusual recipes. Wilson focuses on a particularly disappointing burrito and how it came to be for most of the article. When setting up how Watson works, Wilson says:

Chef Watson—IBM’s Jeopardy-robot-gone-algorithmic-recipe engine—has released his first cookbook

Chef Watson creates unexpected, but delicious food pairings by nature. (Read more how he does it 
here.) That’s in fact the software’s value—to suggest ideas we wouldn’t think of on our own.

Emphasis mine.

Wilson seems to be deliberately using the male pronoun to refer to the AI. It is a distinct decision in that Watson was often referred to as “it” in most articles about battling Ken Jennings at Jeopardy.

I’ve long thought that true Turing tests would require more complex forms of expression than just conversation. Ratatouille makes a very strong case that cooking is something nearing a complete encapsulation of personhood traits.

Now, of course, the follow up question: why is Watson a he?

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.