T106 | Are Robots Moral? The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence Gerol Petruzella

Tuesdays -
5:00 - 6:30 p.m. | Six Sessions -
6/11, 6/18, 6/25, 7/2, 7/9, 7/16

In-person at Williams College
Limit: 40

While generative AI is only a couple of years old, philosophers have been identifying and grappling for centuries with the moral implications of tools that behave like humans. Can AI earn blame, or praise, for its decisions? When does human-like behavior deserve moral consideration and when not? Are we truly as clear as we imagine about what, exactly, consciousness is? Do ethics apply only to biological things, and if so, why is that? If generative AI has the potential to become self-aware, is it immoral to prevent it? In this course we will use philosophers’, and others', writings - and sometimes generative AI tools themselves to address some of the deepest ethical questions we're suddenly being compelled to answer, as a society, with the explosive growth of generative AI, from commerce to the arts to education to the military to health care.

Gerol Petruzella holds a Ph.D. in philosophy, with concentrations in ethics and logic. He is currently Academic Technology Consultant at Williams College, and previously worked as Director of Academic Technology at MCLA, as well as Visiting Associate Professor in philosophy. In 2018 he served on the IEEE working group for Ethically Aligned Design: A Vision for Prioritizing Human Well-being with Autonomous and Intelligent Systems, a standards document for prioritizing ethics in the creation of AI. He has presented at numerous conferences, from the University of St. Andrews (Scotland) to SXSWedu in Austin TX. His most recent presentation was "Conversational Computing; or, how genAI reveals (and subverts) our HCI assumptions" at NERD Summit 2024 at UMass-Amherst. He has published works on topics in philosophy and education.

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