Artificial Companions and their Philosophical Challenges

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As a programmer, I see the computer as a tool, or medium, that will run the applications I write. The program instructions are followed by the computer without thought on its part. As a programmer, I can write applications that do good things for others or commit criminal acts. The computer, as a tool, follows the instructions. Depending on the application, the computer may appear to think, but I do not see any evidence of consciousness; the machine merely follows program code. As a programmer then, I am the moral agent, not the computer. Hence, I admit that I am not sold on the concept of artificial companions just yet; I am still studying it. I see them as virtual characters. I can see though, where some people could become attached to their ACs in the future. If I were born into a society where the same virtual character aided me in my life - or perhaps more imaginable - if I were in an assisted living home, where my virtual companion kept me company (before and after my real family stops visiting) - maybe it can be programmed to read my favorite books to me; remind me to take my medications, and so forth - spending inordinate amounts of time with me (or me with it) - I can foresee an attachment taking place. I am curious, however. If I read this right, artificial intelligence must be ethical in and of itself and the computer is the being or "person." I can see, in the article, where people (like us) continually interact, I'm getting the impression that the computer/artificial intelligence also has a responsibility. Am I off-base here?

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Data wydania: 14 grudnia 2007 r.
wersja online: ISSN 1731-7428
wersja drukowana: ISSN 1731-6758

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