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Medical ethics of the future: What will we do when all things are possible?. ETHICS IN A WORLD OF ROBOTS. ROBOTIC POTENTIAL-MASSIVE! Contemporary Examples.

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medical ethics of the future what will we do when all things are possible
Medical ethics of the future:

What will we do when all things are possible?

ETHICS IN A WORLD OF ROBOTS

robotic potential massive contemporary examples
ROBOTIC POTENTIAL-MASSIVE!Contemporary Examples
  • Social Impact: Foxconn International makes components for iPhones, iPads, etc. It will buy enough robots to replace 1.2 million workers in China.
  • Military and Surveillance: Internet surveillance..
    • eg. gmail monitored in US by CIA.
    • e.g. Israel’s “Iron Dome” Defensive system
    • e.g. National Airspace Monitoring system
current unmanned surveillance vehicle drone
Current Unmanned Surveillance Vehicle: Drone
  • Over 30,000 drones forecast for US airspace alone-border patrol, forest fire location, etc.
robotic potential massive amazing medical advances
ROBOTIC POTENTIAL-MASSIVE!Amazing Medical Advances
  • Stomach, or gastric cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide and is particularly common in East Asia. SNU’s Ho and Phee made a crab robot that enters through the mouth to ‘eat’ cancer in the stomach.
  • Robots for surgery, internal examination, organ modification (artery clearing), behavioural modification (implanted in brain), physical assistance, etc.
singularity and the ethical issues the debate
SINGULARITY AND The ETHICAL ISSUES: The DEBATE
  • Proposition: Even if a super-robot were to control all medical systems in the future, with unlimited possibilities to manipulate the human, so long as the word ‘human’ applies, there must be the presumption of an ethical awareness, an available intentionality to express self meaningfully, and some sense of legitimate ‘choice’.
  • Pro: So long as the statement “x is better for humans” has relevance, then, ethical evaluation will define the human. Even if we adopt Zadeh’s (1988) argument for fuzzy logic, we just have no means of relating to entities who do not exhibit the minimal elements noted above.
singularity and the ethical issues the debate1
SINGULARITY AND The ETHICAL ISSUES: The DEBATE
  • Con: Singularity may change the very definition of the human
  • Already the line is blurring between the machine and the human
  • Most current technology is already beyond the intelligence of most humans
  • No one human institution has control over machines or their development
  • Wide belief that machines do it better
robots bring a host of ethical issues
ROBOTS BRING A HOST OF ETHICAL ISSUES
  • Should robots only be developed that are ‘sensitive’ to human values?
  • Will humans accept their replacement?
  • Human modification technology no longer in future—pacemaker? Hearing aids? Motion?
  • Can we build a robot with interpersonal skills?
  • Haven’t we always had technological developments? The wheel, the boat, writing, the telephone, etc.
ethics in a world of robots
ETHICS IN A WORLD OF ROBOTS
  • Ethical Reasoning is a contested area in current human existence, and just about any area of medical procedure has ethical dilemmas.
  • The literature on all aspects of futurism bristles with ethical challenges.
  • The relationship of ethics to current human meaning is critical but its foundation is rooted in religion…a very difficult field to destroy.
unpacking the issues some important studies
UNPACKING THE ISSUES: Some Important Studies
  • NANOTECHNOLOGY AND THE ETHICS OF FORECASTING: David Sanford Horner
  • TRANSCENDING BIOLOGY: Ray Kurzweil
  • THE HUMAN-NOT WELCOME IN THE FUTURE: William Joy
  • ETHICAL ISSUES IN AI: Richard Mason
unpacking the issues
UNPACKING THE ISSUES:
  • NANOTECHNOLOGY: Horner
    • “‘nanomedicine’ devoted not merely to ameliorative medical treatment but to the improvement of human performance”
    • “a forecast may only be properly made if it is made on the basis of sufficient knowledge, experience and evidence”
    • “if the outcomes are beyond our knowledge and control then we can’t be held responsible for them. But it is a central plank of moral theory that moral agency and judgement must be immune to luck”
    • “Ergo: the need for nano-ethics”
unpacking the issues1
UNPACKING THE ISSUES
  • TRANSCENDING BIOLOGY: Kurzweil
    • “human life will be irreversibly transformed.. Although neither utopian or dystopian, this epoch will transform the concepts that we rely on to give meaning to our lives, from our business models to the cycle of human life, including death itself”
    • “There will be no distinction, post-Singularity, between human and machine or between physical and virtual reality”
unpacking the issues2
UNPACKING THE ISSUES
  • TRANSCENDING BIOLOGY: Kurzweil
    • “six historical epochs that are driven, in a law-like manner (‘the law of accelerating returns’), by the exponential growth of information and technology”
    • “‘a theory of technological evolution’ as justification of the shape of future human society”
unpacking the issues3
UNPACKING THE ISSUES
  • THE HUMAN-NOT WELCOME IN THE FUTURE: William Joy
    • “genetic engineering, robotics, and nanotechnology (GNR)—will extinguish human beings as we now know them”
    • “Joy’s big fish eat little fish argument quotes robotics pioneer Hans Moravec: “Biological species almost never survive encounters with superior competitors.”
unpacking the issues4
UNPACKING THE ISSUES
  • THE HUMAN-NOT WELCOME IN THE FUTURE
    • “self-replication amplifies the danger of GNR: “A bomb is blown up only once—but one bot can become many, and quickly get out of control.”
    • “21st century technologies “are widely within the reach of individuals or small groups… knowledge alone will enable the use of them,” I.E. “knowledge-enabled mass destruction (KMD).”
    • “we are on the cusp of the further perfection of extreme evil…”
unpacking the issues5
UNPACKING THE ISSUES
  • THE HUMAN-NOT WELCOME IN THE FUTURE
    • “It seems far more likely that a robotic existence would not be like a human one in any sense that we understand, that the robots would in no sense be our children… that on this path our humanity may well be lost.”
    • “this is the first moment in the history of our planet when any species by its voluntary actions has become a danger to itself.”
    • “The only realistic alternative I see is relinquishment: to limit development of the technologies that are too dangerous, by limiting our pursuit of certain kinds of knowledge.”
unpacking the issues6
UNPACKING THE ISSUES
  • ETHICAL ISSUES IN AI: Richard Mason
    • Fundamental assumption: “[e]very aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it.” (McCarthy, 1956)
    • “Approaches based on this assumption are called symbolic or symbol-processing AI.”
unpacking the issues7
UNPACKING THE ISSUES
  • ETHICAL ISSUES IN AI: Richard Mason
    • Wiener observed: “It has long been clear to me that the modern ultra-rapid computing machine was in principle an ideal central nervous system to an apparatus for automatic control…this new development has unbounded possibilities for good and evil.”
    • “Physically they will be silicon based rather than carbon based; but, they will be able to think, feel, have moods, be emotional, interact socially with others, draw on common sense, and have a “soul.” Thus, Al-based systems, will become the next stage in the evolution of life, emerge as our successors, and create a future society populated and governed by computers”
unpacking the issues8
UNPACKING THE ISSUES
  • ETHICAL ISSUES IN AI: Richard Mason
    • “the question of granting personhood to an AI machine or robot depends on where the line is drawn between persons and inanimate objects”
    • “The overarching criterion is displaying some form of cognitive capacity—being conscious, having perceptions, feeling sensations”
unpacking the issues9
UNPACKING THE ISSUES
  • ETHICAL ISSUES IN AI: Richard Mason
    • Turing also predicted at mid-century that “in about fifty years’ time, it will be possible to programme computers … to make them play the imitation game so well that an average interrogator will not have more than a seventy percent chance of making the right identification after five minutes questioning.”
    • Turing concluded, “We may hope that machines will eventually compete with men in all purely intellectual fields.”
unpacking the issues10
UNPACKING THE ISSUES
  • ETHICAL ISSUES IN AI: Richard Mason
    • “While the possibility of a machine being granted moral status is the most compelling ethical issue raised by AI, there are others, determined largely by the uses to which AI programs are actually put. These ethical considerations have evolved as AI research and development has progressed. AI programs form relationships with other entities. They are used, for example, to advise human users, make decisions, and in the case of intelligent software agents to chat with people, search for information, look for news, find jobs, and shop for goods and locate the best prices. Their role in these relationships engenders moral responsibility. “
summing up
SUMMING UP:
  • Widespread embrace of technology by humans
  • No guidelines for developing entities more intelligent than we are
  • Massive human dislocation/destruction could be a result ( Atom bomb?)
  • Ultimately human ethics will have to grapple with outcomes
  • Can there be a “higher ethics”?
bibliography
BIBLIOGRAPHY
  • Grunwald, Armin. Nanotechnology-A New Field of Ethical Inquiry? Science and Engineering Ethics 11 (2):187-201.
  • Horner, D.S., 2007a. Forecasting Ethics and the Ethics of Forecasting: the case of Nanotechnology. In: T.W. Bynum, K. Murata, and S. Rogerson, eds. Globalisation: Bridging the Global Nature of Information and Communication Technology and the Local Nature of Human Beings. ETHICOMP 2007, Vol.1. Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan 27 -29 March 2007. Tokyo: Global e-SCM Research Centre, Meiji University, pp. 257-267.
bibliography1
BIBLIOGRAPHY
  • Joy, William. 2000. “The future doesn’t need us.” Wired Magazine.
  • Kurzweil, Ray. 2005. The Singularity is near: when humans transcend biology. London: Duckworth.
  • Mason, Brian. 2004. Ethical Issues in Artificial Intelligence http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B0122272404000642#mc0473
  • Zadeh, L.A. 1988.Fuzzy Logic. Computer, Vol. 21, #4, 83-93
contact information
CONTACT INFORMATION

Dr. Earle Waugh

Centre for the Cross-Cultural Study of Health and Healing

Department of Family Medicine

University of Alberta

901 College Plaza

Edmonton, AB T6G 2C8

Ph: 780 492-6424

Email: ewaugh@ualberta.ca