Technology and ethics


While most people welcome new technologies that make our lives easier, offer better diagnosis and treatment of disease, or making businesses more efficient (and their products cheaper), many new breakthroughs throw up important ethical questions. This is perhaps clearest in relation to artificial intelligence (AI): if we want machines to learn and make decisions like humans, how do they learn to make morally correct decisions? Indeed, could we ourselves reach agreement on the kinds of moral choices that intelligent machines might face? As for efficiency, are there dangers attached to doing things ever faster? For example, what are the benefits and pitfalls of financial technology, aka ‘fintech’? And there are also the human consequences of technology: for example, could virtual reality devices lead to some people losing touch with physical reality? This strand will dig deep into the ethical dilemmas and social impacts of new technology.

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