Damon works in AI (Artificial Intelligence) and he faces the problem of programming ethics into computer programs. Think that’s hard? Then look at the moral framework you use in your own life and realize it’s much harder than you think.
What Damon talks about is how we, as the programmers and users of technology, must decide how to use this technology.
Plato tried to find absolutes of justice. Like the 1 and 0 of ethics. Good and bad.
John Stuart Mill said we must do the thing that results in the greatest good, a simple numbers game.
And then there is Kant. He may have had the formula, but it’s no easy method. In fact, it’s the hardest way for humans to live:
We must use our reason.
“The sad truth is that most evil done in this world is not done by people who choose to be evil.
It arises from not thinking.”
Let’s start a conversation. Is it right to buy foreign goods? Give our money to dishonest Wall Street bankers? Give the government the power to take our right to trial to protect us from terrorism? Take a job we don’t enjoy just for the money?
Don’t worry: There is no right or wrong.
But we must have a reasoning for our actions. Otherwise our lives aren’t really our own.
Here’s to a new year of doing what we want and knowing why we do it.