Conference: ETHICOMP 2015
ETHICOMP 2015 celebrated it’s 20th anniversary in the place of its inception: De Montfort University in Leicester, UK. While the city it self, well, is not exactly a crown jewel of the United Kingdom, the De Montfort University itself certainly has its charm and proofed to be an excellent venue for the conference. Greeted by a local Anime & Cosplay convention, I enjoyed 3 days of this exceptional conference. Exceptional because of the high quality of academic content, but also because many of the attendants turned out to have known each other for many years, producing an atmosphere that reminiscent of David Hume’s famous “Truth springs from argument amongst friends”.
My contribution to this argument came in the form of a paper titled “Robots Make Ethics Honest — And Vice Versa“, but which could have equally been titled “All the things that irritate me when I read about robot ethics“.
In a nutshell, it’s a compacted call to get the foundations straight before we move to the task of making robots ethical–and how thinking about robots can help us do so. Judging from the reactions, I appears it was well received. Particularly at the end of the last day of the conference I was quite happy to find myself dining with a whole bunch of people who pretty much fully agreed, if not with the full extend of my ethical framework, at least with the underlying premises with regard to naturalism, moral anti-realism, hard determinism etc. Certainly a conference worth visiting again.
My pick for the most notable paper, this time not necessarily because of its outstanding quality or the merit of the argument, but because of its considerably controversial nature: Kathleen Richardson, The Asymmetrical ‘Relationship’: Parallels Between Prostitution and the Development of Sex Robots
Conference proceedings are published with the ACM Digital Library as a special issue of the ACM SIGCAS newsletter and should be available soon.