Are we going to create an AI god

Funkkolleg 2018/2019

Author: Ariane Focke

Man plays God: new creation through technology

Man plays god - technology god. He makes himself a creator and at the same time the new technical developments demand "blind faith" from him, for example with self-driving cars.

The more intelligent machines become, the greater the fear of being displaced and no longer being the “crown of creation”. That is why humans optimize themselves. They not only create robots, but also become machines themselves: cyborgs.

What ethics is a robot based on?

Behind this is the vision of the complete fusion of man and machine. In the end, man could overcome his body and become immortal.

The more autonomous and intelligent machines become, the more urgent is the question of machine ethics and social control. Which values ​​do robots orientate themselves to? How does the machine make decisions in a dilemma situation? Can a machine even estimate the consequences of its actions and make a decision of conscience? While a lot is technically possible, the robot ethics is still in its infancy.

↑ to the top

Broadcast as a podcast

Download Funkkolleg Religion Macht Politik (21), MP3 audio format, 24:44 min., 39.6 MB

Broadcast in hr-iNFO: 04.05.2019, 11:30 a.m.

↑ to the top

Additional material

  1. Artificial intelligence and algorithms
  2. Between wearables and cyborgs
  3. Transhumanism
  4. The human-machine relationship: philosophical and ethical questions
  5. The automation of war

1. Artificial intelligence and algorithms

The forecasts of what effects the further development of artificial intelligence and increasingly sophisticated algorithms will have on people and their social and political coexistence currently vary widely. The spectrum ranges from horror scenarios that expect a superiority and domination of the machine to the hope of optimizing people and their way of life. Direct effects on communication behavior are already real, as can be seen, for example, in the organization of protests.

Eberl, Ulrich (2018): What is Artificial Intelligence - what can it do ?, in: From Politics and Contemporary History 6-8 / 2018, online at: https://www.bpb.de/apuz/263678/was-ist-kuenstliche-intellektiven-was-kann-sie-träger

Refugees, Jan (2018): Democracy has to rumble and stutter, online at: https://www.sueddeutsche.de/kultur/frankreich-proteste-gelbwesten-demokratie-facebook-1.4246746

Heinrich Böll Foundation: Podcast series "How Artificial Intelligence is Changing Our Lives", online at: https://www.boell.de/de/podcast-kuenstliche-intellektiven

Hurtz, Simon (2018): These technologies can be scary, online at: https://www.sueddeutsche.de/digital/jahresrueckblick-kuenstliche-intellektiven-diese-technologien-koennen-angst-machen-1.3985146

Walsh, Toby (2017): Elon Musk is wrong. The AI ​​singularity won't kill us all, online at: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/elon-musk-artificial-intelligence-scaremongering

Samuel, Sigal (2018): Can Artificial Intelligence predict religious violence ?, online at: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/07/artificial-intelligence-religion-atheism/565076/

Dickow, Marcel / Voelsen, Daniel (2018): The global struggle for the future of artificial intelligence. International need for regulation and opportunities for German foreign policy, SWP-Aktuell 24/2018, online at: https://www.swp-berlin.org/fileadmin/contents/products/aktuell/2018A24_dkw_job.pdf

↑ to the top

2. Between wearables and cyborgs

Optimizing body and mind, possibly even achieving immortality - advocates see these possibilities in the use of computer chips or artificial organs in the human organism. But the trend raises a multitude of ethical and political questions.

ARTE (2019): Re: My life as a cyborg, online at: https://www.arte.tv/de/videos/083967-018-A/re-mein-leben-als-cyborg/

Kelber, Cornelia / Nagel, Pia (2016): Wearables: On the way to the human machine, online at: https://www.zukunftsinstitut.de/artikel/wearables-auf-dem-weg-zur-menschmaschine/

Biederbeck, Max / Tanriverdi, Hakan (2013): Still human, soon machine, online at: https://www.faz.net/aktuell/stil/leib-seele/cyborgs-noch-mensch-bald-maschine-12645923.html

Clark, Liat (2017): AI in healthcare is being built by and for the wealthiest: we need a wider perspective, warns WHO, online at: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/margaret-chan-un-ai-health

Maier-Borst, Haluka (2017): Body-Hacking: I, simply despicable, online at: https://t3n.de/magazin/body-hacking-241697/

Maier-Borst, Haluka (2017): Body-Hacking: I, simply despicable, online at: https://t3n.de/magazin/body-hacking-241697/

↑ to the top

3. Transhumanism

Transhumanists want to transcend human limitations through new technologies - both physically and intellectually. The philosophical school of thought deals, for example, with nano-technology, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence and other new technologies. Certain varieties of transhumanism even consider the creation of a super-intelligence to be possible - a vision that also calls into question the religious conceptions of God.

Innerhofer, Judith (2013): Brain pacemaker for everyone !, in: Die Zeit 20/2013, online at: https://www.zeit.de/2013/20/transhumanismus-philosoph-stefan-lorenz-sorgner

Wiedemann, Carolin (2015): Bring me the head of Raymond Kurzweil !, online at: https://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/transhumanismus-bring-mir-den-kopf-von-raymond-kurzweil-13696362.html

Clark, Liat (2017): Why Elon Musk’s transhumanism claims may not be that far-fetched, online at: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/elon-musk-humans-must-become-cyborgs

ARTE (2016): Controversial future: Jacques Testart / Laurent Alexandre. How far can technology upgrade people ?, online at: https://www.arte.tv/de/videos/066107-001-A/zukunft-kontrovers-jacques-testart-laurent-alexandre/

Franck, Georg, et al. (2015): Against Transhumanism, online at: https://www.nzz.ch/meinung/kommentare/die-gefaehrliche-utopie-der-selbstoptimierung-wider-den-transhumanismus-ld.1301315

↑ to the top

4. The human-machine relationship: philosophical and ethical questions

The new technologies raise numerous ethical and philosophical questions. Some of these questions are discussed by experts in the podcasts of the Zukunftsinstitut.

ZukunftsInstitut (Podcast meeting point: Future, February 1, 2018): What makes people special and why robots are not sustainable, online at: https://www.zukunftsinstitut.de/podcast/treffpunkt-zukunft/natalie-knapp/

ZukunftsInstitut (Podcast meeting point: Future, November 29, 2017): Ethics and machines: The future topics of medicine, online at: https://www.zukunftsinstitut.de/podcast/treffpunkt-zukunft/andreas-klein/

In addition to the questions of artificial intelligence, there are those of artificial morality: which tasks and decisions can we leave to machines, which must remain in the decision-making competence of humans?

Köver, Chris (2018): Interview with AI researcher Toby Walsh: "We have to make the right decisions now", online at: https://netzpolitik.org/2018/interview-mit-ki-forscher-toby-walsh-wir-muessen-jetzt-die-richtigen-entscheidungen-treffen/

Misselhorn, Catrin (2018): Machine ethics and "Artificial Morality": Can and should machines act morally ?, in: From Politics and Contemporary History 6-8 / 2018, online at: http://www.bpb.de/apuz/263684/koennen-und-sollen-maschinen-moralisch-handeln

↑ to the top

5. The automation of war

The problem of “dual use”, the usability of technologies for both civil and military purposes, also applies to robotics and artificial intelligence. Research for military purposes is often one of the driving forces behind technological development. But in the military field, the ethical and political questions with a view to the new technologies are once again being raised. In addition, the international regulation of new autonomous weapon systems is still lagging significantly behind the development.

Schörnig, Niklas (2017): Autonomous Weapon Systems: Challenges for Prohibition and Containment, online at: https://blog.prif.org/2017/08/28/autonome-waffensysteme-herauslösungen-fuer-verbot-und-einhegung/

Schörnig, Niklas (2016): Is a ban on "killer robots" approaching ?, online at: https://www.sicherheitsppolitik-blog.de/2016/12/21/rueckt-ein-verbot-von-killer-robots-naeher/

Deutschlandfunk (23.03.2019): How AI systems are changing military training, online at: https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/kuenstliche-intellektiven-wie-ki-systeme-die-militaerische.684.de.html?dram:article_id=444440

Kolb, Matthias (2019): "It will be everywhere and change every part of life", online at: https://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/kuenstliche-intellektiven-g-sicherheitskonferenz-1.4335391

SWR2 (2016): War with autonomous weapons, online at: https://www.swr.de/swr2/programm/sendung/wissen/krieg-mit-autonomen-waffen/-/id=660374/did=17106218/nid=660374/1vodbag/index.html [Incl. Audio]

SWR2 (2016): War with autonomous weapons, online at: https://www.swr.de/swr2/programm/sendung/wissen/krieg-mit-autonomen-waffen/-/id=660374/did=17106218/nid=660374/1vodbag/index.html [Incl. Audio]

↑ to the top

Additional materials as PDF for download