Patrick Lin is the director of the Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group, based at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where he is also an associate philosophy professor. He has published several books and papers in the field of technology ethics, especially with respect to nanotechnology, human enhancement, robotics, cyberwarfare, space exploration, and other areas. He teaches courses in ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of technology, and philosophy of law. Dr. Lin has appeared in international media such as BBC, Forbes, National Public Radio (US), Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Reuters, Science Channel, Slate, The Atlantic, The Christian Science Monitor, The Times (UK), Wired, and others (see this page for more).
Dr. Lin is currently or has been affiliated with several other leading organizations, including: Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society, Stanford's School of Engineering (CARS), New America Foundation, UN Institute for Disarmament Research, University of Notre Dame, US Naval Academy, and Dartmouth College. He earned his BA from University of California at Berkeley, and MA and PhD from University of California at Santa Barbara.
Cross-posted from The Atlantic.
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?
I am pleased to announce that our edited volume Robot Ethics: The Social and Ethical Implications of Robotics has now been released by MIT Press.
The preface and table of contents are below (incl. link to Ryan Calo's chapter on privacy):
“Nothing is stranger to man but his own image.”
– Karel Čapek in Rossum’s Universal Robots (1921)
Here's a preview of my forthcoming paper on robot ethics (with co-authors Keith Abney and George Bekey) in Artificial Intelligence journal, one of the best in its field.
Patrick Lin made interesting observations on the ethical notion of human dignity in the context of LAWS. Even if LAWS could act in accordance with IHL, taking of human life by machines violates a right to dignity that may even be more fundamental to the right to life.
Download the attached PDF to read Patrick Lin's full testimony.
Do you remember that day when you lost your mind? You aimed your car at five random people down the road. By the time you realized what you were doing, it was too late to brake.
Thankfully, your autonomous car saved their lives by grabbing the wheel from you and swerving to the right. Too bad for the one unlucky person standing on that path, struck and killed by your car.
Within the next few years, autonomous vehicles—alias robot cars—could be weaponized, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fears. In a recently disclosed report, FBI experts wrote that they believe that robot cars would be “game changing” for law enforcement. The self-driving machines could be professional getaway drivers, to name one possibility. Given the pace of developments on autonomous cars, this doesn’t seem implausible.
"Deep learning, with its ability to spot patterns and find clusters of similar examples, has obvious potential to fight crime—and allow authoritarian governments to spy on their citizens. Chinese authorities are analysing people’s social-media profiles to assess who might be a dissident, says Patrick Lin, a specialist in the ethics of AI at Stanford Law School.
"Patrick Lin, the director of the Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group at California Polytechnic State University, says we humans are a fickle lot, and that we don’t always know what we want or what we can live with.
“What we intellectually believe is true and what we in fact do may be two very different things,” he told Gizmodo. “Humans are often selfish even as they profess altruism. Car manufacturers, then, might not fully appreciate this human paradox as they offer up AI and robots to replace us behind the wheel.”"
“With Go or chess or Space Invaders, the goal is to win, and we know what winning looks like,” says Lin. “But in ethical decision-making, there is no clear goal. That’s the whole trick. Is the goal to save as many lives as possible? Is the goal to not have the responsibility for killing? There is a conflict in the first principles.”
"The article then paraphrases philosophy professor Patrick Lin, whose work at Cal Poly focuses in part on the ethics of driverless cars. According to Lin, "On the one hand, [the trolley problem] is a great entry point and teaching tool for engineers with no background in ethics. On the other hand, its prevalence, whimsical tone, and iconic status can shield you from considering a wider range of dilemmas and ethical considerations.""
"And this isn’t simply a matter of arguing until we figure out the right answer. Patrick Lin, director of Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group at California Polytechnic State University, says ethics may not be internally consistent, which would make it impossible to reduce to programs. “The whole system may crash when it encounters paradoxes or unresolvable conflicts,” he says.
For more information and to register visit the event website.
Professor Patrick Lin discusses key ethical, legal, and policy challenges in cyberwarfare. This event is part of the “IT, Ethics, and Law” lecture series, co-sponsored by the High Tech Law Institute.
Self-driving cars are already cruising the streets today. And while these cars will ultimately be safer and cleaner than their manual counterparts, they can’t completely avoid accidents altogether. How should the car be programmed if it encounters an unavoidable accident? Patrick Lin navigates the murky ethics of self-driving cars.
SCOTT SIMON, HOST: