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Accepted Paper:

Pandora's Robot: Cultural Implications of Morally Autonomous Artifical Intelligence  
Kerric Harvey (George Washington University)

Paper short abstract:

Illustrates advantages of a transdisciplinary approach when exploring the technical feasibility, social desirability, and the cultural implications of robotic combat troops, self-driving cars, and other AI technology by deconstructing a webcast of two robots debating the future of humanity.

Paper long abstract:

Using as a starting point the high profile 2017 webcast produced by Hansen Robotics, an Artifical Intelligence (AI) industry leader, of their two robots debating the future of humanity, the author uses a transdisciplinary approach to explore the technical feasibility, social desirability, and the cultural, moral, ethical, and political implications of emerging trends in the use of "sentient artificial beings." Building on insights parsed from the 2017 robot debate, the author also examines two controversial but rapidly escalating Artificial Intelligence applications. The first is the recent drive to integrate anthropomorphic "thinking robots" or Lethal Autonomous Weapons (LAWs) into the American military as front-line combat troops that are authorized to use lethality against humans at their own discretion, and the United Nations' subsequent objection to this on both practical and humanitarian ground. The second case study examines the political economy as well as the anthropological implications of the rapidly developing self-driving car industry. The functional fallacy of "machine learning" provides an ethnographic through-line linking these three AI scenarios. The author concludes with a series of concrete suggestions about the role of anthropology in shaping public discourse around rapidly developing AI issues and ways to use ethnography to help educate the policy makers and cultural thought leaders at the intersection of human and robotic societies.

Panel P01e
AI and interdisciplinary Futures Anthropology
  Session 1 Friday 10 June, 2022, -