Recent posts have turned my attention back to the role in ethical experience of recognition between people, and from this has emerged a new theme I’d like to explore: How we greet one another.

The possible importance of greeting came out in the story of the toddler in the farmers market:

“I’m here! I’m here!”

But I thought, yes, child, you are here!

Here you are! Welcome!

It also figured in my thoughts on encountering human drivers as distinct from self-driving cars: Continue reading “Greeting”

I’m Here!

In the teeming checkout area of the DeKalb Farmers Market on a Sunday Morning, a curly-headed toddler galloped through the crowd, calling out: “I’m here! I’m here!”

A man I took to be her father, amused and slightly harried, followed a few steps behind.

“I’m here!”

I supposed she was on her way to – and trying to get the attention of – another adult at the other end of the room.

“I’m here! I’m here!” Continue reading “I’m Here!”

Death By Robot

“Death by robot is an undignified death, Peter Asaro, an affiliate scholar at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, said in a speech in May at a United Nations conference on conventional weapons in Geneva. A machine ‘is not capable of considering the value of those human lives’ that it is about to end, he told the group. ‘And if they’re not capable of that and we allow them to kill people under the law, then we all lose dignity, in the way that if we permit slavery, it’s not just the suffering of those who are slaves but all of humanity that suffers the indignity that there are any slaves at all.'” – Robin Marantz Henig, “Death By Robot“, in tomorrow’s New York Times Magazine.

This gets close to what I was trying to say in my recent post on self-driving cars, at least in that it offers an alternative to the usual default discourse of utilitarian calculation. Continue reading “Death By Robot”

Self-Driving Cars: A View from the Sidewalk

I have not been following the hype over self-driving cars closely enough to tell whether it’s a passing fad or something more enduring.

As is often the case with emerging technologies that excite people’s imaginations, many claims for the benefits of self-driving cars come across as exaggerated, almost utopian.

In any case, benefits are cast as benefits, along a single dimension of value: self-driving cars will be convenient and profitable, and we’ll all be better off if they become more prevalent.

I’m far from convinced. Continue reading “Self-Driving Cars: A View from the Sidewalk”