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.
"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.
"“We can't cherry-pick the costs or savings to focus on,” says Patrick Lin, director of the Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group at California Polytechnic State University. Instead, he says,to fairly examine the ethics involved, we should consider impacts both on the individual and society level. “Yes, healthier people may mean lower health costs and more productivity, but that's a partial picture at best.
"“I’d agree that AI is a very powerful tool, and some designs and uses can be better or worse than others,” says Patrick Lin, a philosopher at Cal Poly who studies the ethics of automation and artificial intelligence. But, he adds: “OpenAI says that it aims at ‘a good outcome for all’ and to ‘benefit humanity as a whole,’ but who gets to define what the good outcome is?”
"Gerdes has been working with a philosophy professor, Patrick Lin, to make ethical thinking a key part of his team’s design process. Lin, who teaches at Cal Poly, spent a year working in Gerdes’s lab and has given talks to Google, Tesla, and others about the ethics of automating cars. The trolley problem is usually one of the first examples he uses to show that not all questions can be solved simply through developing more sophisticated engineering.
"Stanford ethicist Patrick Lin argues that hiring contractors for Predator ISR operations also “opens the door for outsourcing drone strikes for the first time.” Doing so would “delegate a Constitutional responsibility that only the state has,” he said in an email to Defense One. Private military contractors “often lack the oversight and accountability we demand of military professionals.
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: