All posts tagged: ethics

The Morality of Language

Does speaking in a second language make you a more moral person?

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Is It Possible to Degrade and Exploit Your At-Home Sexbot?

If Immanuel Kant were still around, there’s no doubt he would be pro-sexbot. The term, once defined strictly as a physical robot made for sex (think “fembot”), now also encompasses any sort of artificially intelligent (AI) software made for sexual pleasure—and they’re becoming increasingly popular. While Kant makes it clear in his writing that he believes humans are rational beings because they can choose to follow a moral law, non-rational beings are merely “objects of our inclinations.” Under these terms, sexbots are no more valuable than animals—they are “means,” not “ends,” inherently valueless, given meaning only by that which humans ascribe to them. And yet, as sexbots become more intelligent, transitioning from dolls and one-trick robots into artificially intelligent creations, ethical lines are blurring. Is using AI software now exploitative, on par with sexual assault and rape? At what point should we declare AI sexbots sentient beings? Is there a difference between sex slavery with a human and with an AI program? What really is ethical sex? Read the rest of the article at Pacific Standard.

Fiction, Morality, and the Science of Reading

  Books are much more. They are a way of being fully human. — Susan Sontag Anyone who has ever cozied up in a corner with a fascinating novel knows the pleasures of an afternoon spent reading. Perhaps it was when you whizzed through breezy books like the Harry Potter series or spent time (and a great deal of energy) grappling with the more serious concepts put forth by the likes of Dostoevsky or Safran Foer. Either way, finding that truly engaging novel is a beautiful moment, and is always something to be cherished. As C.S. Lewis said, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” But what if reading is more than just a simple pleasure, more than something that entertains, teaches and engrosses?