[SIGCIS-Members] Some suggestions on the early history of the ethics of AI

Kevin Driscoll kdriscoll at alum.mit.edu
Mon Apr 23 06:05:23 PDT 2018

Dear Debbie,

I've found that some familiarity with the ELIZA chatbot is helpful for
students learning about the history of AI. ELIZA appears often in later
literature and provides a generative starting point for thinking about the
social and political consequences of AI in society.

In a media studies course about programming, I ask students to compare
passages from Weizenbaum's 1966 paper and 1976 follow-up book:
- Weizenbaum, J. (1966). ELIZA: A Computer Program for the Study of Natural
Language Communication Between Man and Machine. Commun. ACM, 9(1), 36–45.
- Weizenbaum, J. (1976). Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to
Calculation (1st edition). San Francisco: W H Freeman & Co.

There are also lots of ELIZAs living on the web for them to play with, e.g.:
- http://www.masswerk.at/elizabot/

Plus, the racist meltdown of Microsoft's Tay in 2016 offers an extension
into the present:
- https://www.theverge.com/2016/3/24/11297050/tay-microsoft-chatbot-racist

Best of luck to you and your student!

Kevin Driscoll
University of Virginia

On Mon, Apr 23, 2018 at 3:55 AM, Alberts, Gerard <g.alberts at uva.nl> wrote:

> Dear Deborah,
> The crucial book is Hubert L. Dreyfus, *What computers still can't do. A
> critique of artificial reason* (MIT, 1972. 1992). *The original What
> computers can't do*, is basically a philosophical argumentation. The
> revised edition has an ample introduction offering a most readible
> historical view of the debate as it evolved.
> AI from its very inception in the 1950s has been accompanied with debates.
> These debates may have been different in Europe from the US; just like the
> automation debate in the 1950s was predominantly a socio-economic debate in
> the US, and when it landed in Europe it had turned into a cultural debate.
> Our colleague Dick van Lente (University of Rotterdam) published on these
> issues.
> I do read Dreyfus with graduate students. For undergraduates I find J.
> David Bolter, *Turing's man* (from 1984!) still very readible. To
> students in CS or AI it will always serve as an eye-opener to the
> worldviews implicit in their discipline - which to me is the key element of
> an ethical reflection course.
> Kind regards,
> Gerard Alberts, University of Amsterdam
> ------------------------------
> *Van:* Members [members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org] namens Deborah Douglas [
> ddouglas at mit.edu]
> *Verzonden:* maandag 23 april 2018 3:21
> *Aan:* members
> *Onderwerp:* [SIGCIS-Members] Some suggestions on the early history of
> the ethics of AI
> I am appealing to the collective for some quick recommendations to help
> one of my undergraduates interested in the early history of ethics and
> artificial intelligence.  What sorts of articles or books have others used
> in their classes with undergraduates to help them understand the key issues
> and concerns?
> Many thanks,
> Debbie Douglas
> *Deborah G. Douglas, PhD* • Director of Collections and Curator of
> Science and Technology, MIT Museum, Room N51-209 • 265 Massachusetts Avenue
> • Cambridge, MA 02139-4307 • http://web.mit.edu/museum> http://museum.mit.edu/150ddouglas at mit.edu •  617-253-1766 phone  •
>  617-253-8994 fax
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