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Patrick Lin Topics




Inside Google’s Mysterious Ethics Board

by Patrick Lin

The technology world was abuzz last week when Google announced it spent nearly half a billion dollars to acquire DeepMind, a UK-based artificial intelligence (AI) lab. With few details available, commentators speculated on the underlying motivation.



Just the Right Amount of Cyber Fear

by Patrick Lin

A new book provides a sensible, engaging rundown of the threats we face.



The Ethics of Autonomous Cars

by Patrick Lin

Sometimes good judgment can compel us to act illegally. Should a self-driving vehicle get to make that same decision? If a small tree branch pokes out onto a highway and there’s no incoming traffic, we’d simply drift a little into the opposite lane and drive around it. But an automated car might come to a full stop, as it dutifully observes traffic laws that prohibit crossing a double-yellow line. This unexpected move would avoid bumping the object in front, but then cause a crash with the human drivers behind it.



The Ethics of Saving Lives With Autonomous Cars Are Far Murkier Than You Think

by Patrick Lin

If you don’t listen to Google’s robot car, it will yell at you. I’m not kidding: I learned that on my test-drive at a Stanford conference on vehicle automation a couple weeks ago.



Pain Rays and Robot Swarms: The Radical New War Games the DOD Plays

by Patrick Lin

In the year 2025, a rogue state—long suspected of developing biological weapons—now seems intent on using them against U.S. allies and interests. Anticipating such an event, we have developed a secret “counter-virus” that could infect and destroy their stockpile of bioweapons. Should we use it?



It Could Be A War Crime To Use Biologically Enhanced Soldiers

by George Dvorsky

Earlier this month, a report funded by the Greenwall Foundation examined the legal and ethical implications of using biologically enhanced humans on the battlefield. Given the Pentagon's open acknowledgement that it's working to create super-soldiers, this is quickly becoming a pertinent issue. We wanted to learn more, so we contacted one of the study's authors. He told us that the use of cyber-soldiers could very well be interpreted as a violation of international law. Here's why.



Could Human Enhancement Turn Soldiers Into Weapons That Violate International Law? Yes

by Patrick Lin

Science fiction, or actual U.S. military project? Half a world away from the battlefield, a soldier controls his avatar-robot that does the actual fighting on the ground. Another one wears a sticky fabric that enables her to climb a wall like a gecko or spider would. Returning from a traumatic mission, a pilot takes a memory-erasing drug to help ward off post-traumatic stress disorder. Mimicking the physiology of dolphins and sled-dogs, a sailor is able to work his post all week without sleep and only a few meals.



How modern technologies made the fighting in Gaza even worse

by George Dvorsky

As the conflict between Israel and Hamas extends into its second week, it has become quite clear that the renewed hostilities are markedly different that that ones that came before. Unlike previous engagements, this war has been characterized by the innovative use of new technologies — including rockets that target rockets, unmanned drones, and even social media. Given these early precedents, it’s fair to say that the means of war have changed yet again — but in a way that’s certainly not for the better.



Is It Possible to Wage a Just Cyberwar?

by Patrick Lin

It’s time to get serious about the moral questions resulting from our new class of weapons. In the last week or so, cyberwarfare has made front-page news: the United States may have been behind the Stuxnet cyberattack on Iran; Iran may have suffered another digital attack with the Flame virus; and our military and industrial computer chips may or may not be compromised by backdoor switches implanted by China. These revelations suggest that the way we fight wars is changing, and so are the rules.



‘Stand Your Cyberground’ Law: A Novel Proposal for Digital Security

by Patrick Lin

With the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), we’re in a political tug-of-war over who should lead the security of our digital borders: should it be a civilian organization such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or a military organization such as the Department of Defense (DoD)? I want to suggest a third option that government need not be involved—a solution that would avoid very difficult issues related to international humanitarian law (IHL) and therefore reduce the risk of an accidental cyberwar or worse.



The Big Robot Questions

by Patrick Lin

Sometimes, the creation is better than its creator. Robots today perform surgeries, shoot people, fly planes, drive cars, replace astronauts, baby-sit kids, build cars, fold laundry, have sex, and can even eat (but not human bodies, the manufacturer insists). They might not always do these tasks well, but they are improving rapidly. In exchange for such irresistible benefits, the Robotic Revolution also demands that we adapt to new risks and responsibilities.

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More Than Human? The Ethics of Biologically Enhancing Soldiers

by Patrick Lin

Our ability to “upgrade” the bodies of soldiers through drugs, implants, and exoskeletons may be upending the ethical norms of war as we’ve understood them.

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What I Told the CIA About Robot Ethics

by Patrick Lin

Robots are replacing humans on the battlefield—but could they also be used to interrogate and torture suspects? This would avoid a serious ethical conflict between physicians’ duty to do no harm, or nonmaleficence, and their questionable role in monitoring vital signs and health of the interrogated. A robot, on the other hand, wouldn’t be bound by the Hippocratic oath, though its very existence creates new dilemmas of its own.

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Hughes and Wallach essays in Patrick’s new collection on Robot Ethics

IEET Fellow Patrick Lin has co-edited a new volume, Robot Ethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics with thirty essays on different aspects on robot ethics, including contributions by IEET Executive Director James Hughes and IEET Fellow Wendell Wallach.

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What If Your Robot Is the Devil?

by Patrick Lin

Should we regulate the creation of autonomous robots? If yes, then why not also regulate the creation of autonomous humans?

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#4: On Wrestling with a Pig, or Getting Dirty in a Debate

by Patrick Lin

With some people, you just can’t win. Do you engage them in a debate, or do you hold your tongue and save yourself the frustration from beating your head against a brick wall? That is the dilemma I face.

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IEET Fellow Patrick Lin on NPR

Dr. Patrick Lin, a Fellow of the IEET and an assistant professor of philosophy at California Polytechnic State University, was a featured guest on a recent edition of the NPR program “Talk of the Nation,” discussing the ethics of robot warfare.

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On Wrestling with a Pig: Getting Dirty in a Debate

by Patrick Lin

With some people, you just can’t win. Do you engage them in a debate, or do you hold your tongue and save yourself the frustration from beating your head against a brick wall? That is the dilemma I face now.

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DIY Science, Democracy, and Dogma

by Patrick Lin

Ordinary citizens today have access to much greater destructive power than ever before, and this may force the evolution of democracy, which has turned somewhat into dogma.

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Patrick Lin Appointed as Fellow of the IEET

Dr. Patrick Lin, director of the Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, has accepted an appointment as Fellow of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies for 2010.

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