CFP: Special Issue 'Moral and Political Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence'

Submission deadline: December 1, 2020

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Call for Papers: Moral and Political Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence

Guest editor: Mathias Risse, Harvard University

Special Issue in Moral Philosophy and Politics (MOPP)

Many experts consider it likely that some kind of general artificial intelligence becomes possible in the 21st century (the kind of AI that approximates human abilities across a broad range). To be sure, many ethical issues arise already with regard to the kind of innovation that becomes possible through a combination of machine learning, Big Data, computational capacities and robotics. Governments have new tools at their disposal for screening citizen. The private sector collects data through use of electronic devices, to such an extent that some observers talk about commodification of all of human reality. Deepfakes undermine the use of a medium that for decades has functioned as a kind of epistemic backstop. The nature of work might change substantially, perhaps for the better (lives becoming easier through delegating aspects of many jobs to machines), perhaps for the worse (many becoming redundant economically, and eventually politically). But as dramatic as all this is, the world would enter a new era if it came to “the singularity,” an intelligence explosion that creates a world where humans (who themselves in due course might be able to choose their hardware) would share social and political spaces with artificial intelligences. The corona crisis has triggered a wave of compulsory digitalization that will accelerate these developments. Enormous advances and opportunities for humanity beckon, but as do calamities. 

Moral Philosophy and Politics invites contributions on the moral and political-philosophical implications of the emergence of artificial intelligence, on themes including, but are by no means limited to, the following questions:

  • What, if any, topics in ethics and political philosophy would need to be rethought in light of the possibility of an intelligence explosion, or at least of the arrival of artificial intelligences much advanced beyond the current state of affairs? 
  • Would we welcome the arrival of new types of intelligences in our lives, and thus accelerate that process, or should we be wary and thus take steps to make sure there will be no intelligence-explosion? 
  • Do we need to rethink the human rights movement (focused, as it is, on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) to prepare ourselves for sharing social and political spaces with what effectively will be alien but highly accomplished intelligences? 
  • Do we need to reconsider our attitudes to, and how we live with, technology now that its development takes on forms that were hard to fathom some decades ago? 
  • What impact, if any, would there be specifically in the domain of epistemic justice through the increasing possibilities in the domain of surveillance by both governments and the private sector? 
  • Would we be guilty of carbon-chauvinism or perhaps even some kind of enslavement if we kept using general artificial intelligences as mere tools? 
  • What role does consciousness play in our thinking about moral status? 
  • What if any, specific issues arise if deepfakes and their spread could be (almost) as easily produced as youtube videos can be produced already? 
  • Violations of privacy used to entail actual intrusions into physical spaces, interceptions of dispatches or eavesdropping on phone calls. Now many highly accurate inferences can be drawn about specific individuals through data mining even though those individuals themselves never lifted a finger and were not interfered with in any way at all. In way ways, if any, do we need to change our thinking about privacy and what’s bad about its violations?  
  • How should all those data be controlled or owned that are gathered via electronic devices? 

Papers should be submitted by December 1, 2020 and should be between 3000 and 8000 words in length.

All submissions will undergo MOPP’s double-blind refereeing process. Please note that this process is not organized by the guest editor but by the journal’s founding editors who will also have the final word on publication decisions.

The journal’s manuscript submission site can accessed here:

Guest editor: Mathias Risse (Harvard University) 

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#Artificial Intelligence, #AI, #Ethics of Technology