It seems reasonable to think in terms of rights, especially regarding sentient creatures, that is, creatures capable of experiencing physical and emotional distress and showing a certain degree of self-awareness. We observe an increasing autonomy of the machines run by “smart” algorithms, and this is enforcing the boundary between progress in the scientific community and the forecast ability of science fiction narrative. Science fiction has often wondered about the ethical obligations to be assumed with regards of an artificial intelligence with the same degree of consciousness (if not even superior) to man. The answer to these questions has always been quite unanimous: if one day an assembled machine would show mental states and abilities similar to ours, those robots would be entitled to a moral consideration similar to the one we generally devote for our species. In all likelihood, however, the first conscious machines will not resemble us at all, they will have different minds from ours, perhaps in a radical way. They will be creatures with mental abilities and behaviours comparable to those of an insect, an ant, a bee, or perhaps those of different animals: a mouse, a dog, who knows, an orca. What to do with these aliens “differently conscious” subjectivities? We must begin to reflect on whether, and under what conditions, these AIs with degrees of subjectivity and intentionality similar to those of the animal kingdom are entitled to the recognition of same ethical consideration. The study tries to apply concepts such as ‘intersubjectivity’, ‘consciousness’ and ‘sentience’ to Artificial Intelligence, more precisely to the EAI, because its new “embodied” approaches are committed to understanding the role of the body in cognitive processes. Above all, EAI and the philosophy of animality, social robotics and the human-animal studies, are linked together by artificial ethology, a domain that uses robotic modelling to analyze and explain animal cognitive behavior. It is clear then that the question: “what kind of autonomy we want to be able to guarantee to these machines” shows a deeper layer that goes beyond the sharing of a physical social space with robots, as affirmed by classic social robotics. Having this in mind, questions follow: will machines one day exist outside of our will? What exactly would be the consciousness of a machine and how could we distinguish it? Further, finding in this point an intriguing parallel with animal rights philosophies and human-animal studies: to what extent can one speak of an extension of fundamental rights to other non-human subjects? Will we still have the right to dispose of these alien consciousnesses at will? Will we still have the right to deactivate these machines? Should we rather consider ourselves responsible as creators? In a radically ecological vision of the world, with its network of ultra-heterogeneous relationships and a full recognition of a cognitive pluralism, I will formulate futuristic hypotheses about the interests of sentient machines as moral patients. To do so, I will undergo an interdisciplinary approach, working on scientific sources (AI, robotics, neuroscience, and ethology), moral philosophies, critical theory and contemporary speculative fiction. The conclusions may shed light on the hybrid reality we already inhabit, and the specular resemblance between the ‘same otherness’ that we share among animals and robots. To predict an alternative to the exploitation or deactivation of machines, theorising a point at which we will come to worry about their well-being, is not a simple exercise in futurology: thinking about these problems should lead us, retroactively, to a drastic rethinking of the contradictory and deeply violent relationship we have today not only with animals but with the ontology of the Other in general.

PER UN DIRITTO ALLA ‘NON-DISATTIVAZIONE’. ETICA E RAPPRESENTAZIONE DELLA COSCIENZA ARTIFICIALE E NON-UMANA NELLA FANTASCIENZA CONTEMPORANEA

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2022-07-11T00:00:00+02:00

Abstract

It seems reasonable to think in terms of rights, especially regarding sentient creatures, that is, creatures capable of experiencing physical and emotional distress and showing a certain degree of self-awareness. We observe an increasing autonomy of the machines run by “smart” algorithms, and this is enforcing the boundary between progress in the scientific community and the forecast ability of science fiction narrative. Science fiction has often wondered about the ethical obligations to be assumed with regards of an artificial intelligence with the same degree of consciousness (if not even superior) to man. The answer to these questions has always been quite unanimous: if one day an assembled machine would show mental states and abilities similar to ours, those robots would be entitled to a moral consideration similar to the one we generally devote for our species. In all likelihood, however, the first conscious machines will not resemble us at all, they will have different minds from ours, perhaps in a radical way. They will be creatures with mental abilities and behaviours comparable to those of an insect, an ant, a bee, or perhaps those of different animals: a mouse, a dog, who knows, an orca. What to do with these aliens “differently conscious” subjectivities? We must begin to reflect on whether, and under what conditions, these AIs with degrees of subjectivity and intentionality similar to those of the animal kingdom are entitled to the recognition of same ethical consideration. The study tries to apply concepts such as ‘intersubjectivity’, ‘consciousness’ and ‘sentience’ to Artificial Intelligence, more precisely to the EAI, because its new “embodied” approaches are committed to understanding the role of the body in cognitive processes. Above all, EAI and the philosophy of animality, social robotics and the human-animal studies, are linked together by artificial ethology, a domain that uses robotic modelling to analyze and explain animal cognitive behavior. It is clear then that the question: “what kind of autonomy we want to be able to guarantee to these machines” shows a deeper layer that goes beyond the sharing of a physical social space with robots, as affirmed by classic social robotics. Having this in mind, questions follow: will machines one day exist outside of our will? What exactly would be the consciousness of a machine and how could we distinguish it? Further, finding in this point an intriguing parallel with animal rights philosophies and human-animal studies: to what extent can one speak of an extension of fundamental rights to other non-human subjects? Will we still have the right to dispose of these alien consciousnesses at will? Will we still have the right to deactivate these machines? Should we rather consider ourselves responsible as creators? In a radically ecological vision of the world, with its network of ultra-heterogeneous relationships and a full recognition of a cognitive pluralism, I will formulate futuristic hypotheses about the interests of sentient machines as moral patients. To do so, I will undergo an interdisciplinary approach, working on scientific sources (AI, robotics, neuroscience, and ethology), moral philosophies, critical theory and contemporary speculative fiction. The conclusions may shed light on the hybrid reality we already inhabit, and the specular resemblance between the ‘same otherness’ that we share among animals and robots. To predict an alternative to the exploitation or deactivation of machines, theorising a point at which we will come to worry about their well-being, is not a simple exercise in futurology: thinking about these problems should lead us, retroactively, to a drastic rethinking of the contradictory and deeply violent relationship we have today not only with animals but with the ontology of the Other in general.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10808/44915
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