Bioethics Blogs

The Age of Artificial Intelligence: Beneficial Advancement or Disastrous Uncertainty

By Sang Xayasouk

This post was written as part of a class assignment from students who took a neuroethics course with Dr. Rommelfanger in Paris of Summer 2016.

Sang Xayasouk is entering her fourth year at Emory University where she is majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology and minoring in Comparative Literature. She is currently a member of the Gamma Phi Beta Sorority and a research assistant under Dr. Sampath Prahalad’s lab, which focuses on juvenile idiopathic arthritis and its risk factors. She plans to pursue a career in medicine after taking a gap year to gain experience in the healthcare and research fields.

On the 30th of June, the students of Emory University attended the Neuroethics Network session held at the Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Épinière (ICM). The first lecture was given by John Harris, a bioethicist and professor emeritus at University of Manchester. His talk was entitled How Smart Do We Want Machines to Be? and Harris addressed several points concerning artificial intelligence (AI). An audience member asked a question regarding self-driving smart cars, also asked by Dr. Rommelfanger in a group exercise in class, “You are given a self-driving car and you have only two options: hitting and killing the ten pedestrians ahead or swerving into a wall and killing only yourself. What should the car be programmed to do and who would be at fault, possibly the programmer?” Harris said we should not have self-driving cars at all, but why should this concept be completely eliminated?

At first, I did not know how to respond to the availability of this technology.

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.