Ethicists on Machine Morals: How Dangerous is Stupid AI?

Artificial intelligence is as stupid as crispbread – with this statement, social ethicist Filipovic turns AI experts against him. In the new episode “So techt Germany” he justifies his provocative thesis: “There is much more to intelligence than a machine can represent.”

In the eyes of Alexander Filipovic, artificial intelligence is not particularly intelligent. On the contrary, the social and media ethicist advocates the thesis that AI is stupid as crispbread. A little to provoke, he says in the new episode of the ntv podcast “So techt Germany”. A statement that has not changed.

“I believe that there is much more to intelligence than a machine can represent,” the ethicist justifies his provocative assumption. Smartphones can play great chess, but are still stupid. For example, during a game it cannot weigh up whether you should let your opponent win so that you are still friends next week. Humans are used to assigning a certain intelligence to machines. He thinks that is a mistake.

This is how Germany techt

In “So techt Germany” the ntv moderators Frauke Holzmeier and Andreas Laukat ask founders, investors, politicians and entrepreneurs how things are in Germany as a technology location. You can find all episodes in the n-tv app at Audio Now, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify. For all other podcast apps, you can use the RSS feed. Copy the feed url and simply add “So techt Germany” to your podcast subscriptions.

For two years, the ethicist and theologian sat on the parliamentary committee of inquiry to develop a timetable for the topic together with other experts and politicians. In this round it was not always harmonious, the views are very different: “There are big differences of opinion between the Left and the FDP on questions of economic development and the regulation of technology,” says Filipovic. There are already many misunderstandings when it comes to the terminology.

At the end of the two-year work of the commission, there are 700 pages of final report on the table, which should help artificial intelligence to go in the right direction and “actually help people,” says Filipovic. It is clear to the scientist that Europe and Germany should promote a value-oriented design of AI. “If we don’t do that, we’ll import and buy in all of the other people’s values,” he explains.

“Developing a moral perspective”

Companies in particular play a major role in the development of artificial intelligence. Companies are very good at determining what people want, says the social ethicist. It could then make the difference how companies handle the data. “They should not only adhere to the law, but also develop a moral perspective,” demands Filipovic. Meaning and morality have now played an important role in companies.

Filipovic has great hopes for the offspring. Filipovic formulates his vision for the future not only to condemn the new technologies across the board and to bring ethics into the field, but “to understand the technology a little bit from the inside out and to change it and thus also to change the world”. The chances are good, since more and more teachers are now “digital natives” in schools.

In the new episode of “So techt Germany”, Alexander Filipovic explains what the theologian Filipovic thinks about artificial intelligence and what Confucianism has to do with it.