Internal WiP: Dr Stephen Rainey

Smart objects erode human agency

Smart objects erode human agency by curtailing the possibility for practical judgements. Smart objects are a class of technology-enabled devices that can adapt to their surroundings according to various criteria, based on e.g. sensor data and artificial intelligence. Practical judgements structure the ways in which agents assess the normative significance of the objects and environments around them. This includes knowledge gained from experience, as well as knowledge of one’s own disposition and capabilities. The projection of these kinds of knowledge comes in practical judgement. When objects, or the environments around agents, become adaptive they undermine practical judgement because they no longer occupy familiarly objective law-like roles for judgement. They are now pseudo-agential, reacting dynamically to circumstances according to rules, but not according to judgements. These objects make us moral patients, in that they affect the usual criteria for moral agency.

Speaker: Dr Stephen Rainey (Oxford Uehiro Centre)

This internal talk is for Oxford Uehiro Centre members and associates.

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