Patrick Lin is the director of the Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group, based at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where he is also a philosophy professor. He has published several books and papers in the field of technology ethics, especially with respect to robotics—including Robot Ethics (MIT Press, 2012) and Robot Ethics 2.0 (Oxford University Press, 2017)—human enhancement, cyberwarfare, space exploration, nanotechnology, and other areas. He teaches courses in ethics, political philosophy, technology ethics, 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), 100 Year Study on AI, World Economic Forum, New America Foundation, UN Institute for Disarmament Research, University of Notre Dame, University of Iceland's Centre for Arctic Policy Studies, 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.
Suppose that an autonomous car is faced with a terrible decision to crash into one of two objects. It could swerve to the left and hit a Volvo sport utility vehicle (SUV), or it could swerve to the right and hit a Mini Cooper. If you were programming the car to minimize harm to others–a sensible goal–which way would you instruct it go in this scenario?
"“The core problem, I think, is going to occur many times a day in the real world, just not in a crazy crash dilemma,” says Patrick Lin, a philosophy professor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, who specializes in the ethics of emerging technologies and was not involved with the study.
"“There is this gray space of decisions that are not wrong and not right,” said Patrick Lin, a philosopher at the California Polytechnic State University who specializes in technology ethics. “They’re judgement calls.”"
"“What happens with autonomous vehicles may set the tone for other AI and robotics, since they’re the first to be integrated into society at scale,” Patrick Lin, director of the Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group at Cal Poly University, told The Verge. “So it’s important that the conversation is as informed as possible, since lives are literally at stake.”"
"In the 2013 report, “Enhanced Warfighters: Risk, Ethics, and Policy,” Cal Poly San Luis Obispo professor Patrick Lin and others raised concerns about the operational, ethical and legal implications of enhancing warfighters. “Besides the obvious issue of free and informed consent of the test subject, there may be issues about the wider effects of an enhancement. … These are open-ended questions we don’t have a policy for yet. The technology is starting to outpace the policy and it becomes increasingly difficult to legislate these things,” Lin said in an interview."
"My fellow Forbes contributor Patrick Lin has long been involved in these discussions. He's the Director of the Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group at Cal Poly and an affiliate scholar at Stanford's Center for Internet and Society. When asked about the current code conundrum, he replied that in order to make progress, two critical things are necessary:
The Baker Forum was established by the Cal Poly President’s Council of Advisors on the occasion of two decades of service to Cal Poly by President Warren J. Baker and his wife, Carly, to further the dialogue on critical public policy issues facing the nation and higher education. The forum gives particular attention to the special social and economic roles and responsibilities of polytechnic and science and technology universities.
Attendees will hear leading speakers, participate in interactive breakout sessions, and network with key innovators in this exciting field. Don't miss what's in store for the Automated Vehicles Symposium 2016.
Affiliate Scholars Bryant Walker Smith and Patrick Lin are confirmed speakers.
For more information, visit the conference website.
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: