Comment on Ethics in the age of androids and cyborgs by jknox

Excellent to reflect on Ghost in the Shell here Renée (and in your other post), it’s a classic! The sequel is good too, but the original film is pretty hard to beat. I might go and see the Hollywood remake (supposedly this year), but it might spoil it!

Memory seems to be a key theme in this kind of SciFi doesn’t – Bladerunner as you say is another classic example here. I can’t help thinking it is a bit of an easy slippage to equate what we (humans) experience as memory, and the kind of data storage we find in computers. I tweeted a panel talk from John Searle and Luciano Floridi earlier this week ( which offers a useful critique of AI. Searle’s (rather classic) ‘Chinese room’ argument is that computers can only deal with syntax (the arrangement of symbols), whereas ‘us’ humans necessarily also deal with semantics (meanings behind and connected to symbols).

In that sense, machines are immensely powerful, but quite stupid. I wonder then, is there a more pressing need for ‘ethics’? Not for some imagined intelligent machine, but for the increasing use of rather stupid machines to make decisions on our behalf? Might be a good way into critiquing TEL there…

Also, I couldn’t get tube chop to work, but I know the scene well. Hadn’t thought about it in particular before, but it is compelling isn’t it? Is it perhaps that the hacked garbage collector had lost his ‘authenticity’ as a human, because his memories had been replaced. In that sense he was seen as rather pathetic because he was no longer human, going by the general premise that memories make us human.

from Comments for Renée’s EDC blog

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