Artificial Intelligence – article analysis

AI’s are always depicted as “going bad” in movies and pop culture (back when the reality of AI’s were still science fiction). Now, we’re actually having to deal with the reality of AI’s. Can we teach them right and wrong/good and bad? Many ethical dilemmas that come with AI technology.

  • U.S. military building autonomous vehicles
  • Newest ethical dilemma: Will humans allow their weapons to pull the trigger on their own without human oversight?
  • 2018 – U.S. Military long range anti-missile (LRASM) which can shoot down enemy missiles autonomously. Makes decisions on flight path and target.

Is it okay for robots to kill humans?

Movies: 2001 Space Odyssey. iRobot. Terminator.

Robots becoming more human-like. Key aspect of being human is morality. Can robots become moral agents?

Teaching Robots Right From Wrong 

In science fiction, the moment at which a robot gains sentience is typically the moment at which we believe that we have ethical obligations toward our creations. An iPhone or a laptop may be inscrutably complex compared with a hammer or a spade, but each object belongs to the same category: tools. And yet, as robots begin to gain the semblance of emotions, as they begin to behave like human beings, and learn and adopt our cultural and social values, perhaps the old stories need revisiting. At the very least, we have a moral obligation to figure out what to teach our machines about the best way in which to live in the world. Once we’ve done that, we may well feel compelled to reconsider how we treat them.

If AI’s are able to learn right from wrong, they’s have to do it through us—mimicking humans. Humans have an innate sense of morality, some level of ability to make those decisions. A machine doesn’t have that, so we have to help the machine.

One method for “robot morality”—teaching them like children “blank slates.” BUT are we blank slates?

Ethics can’t be taught—tacit knowledge (like driving a car). More than facts and experiences, but putting them into practice.

Article assumes that ethics is all about behavior. Knowing right from wrong is different than doing right/wrong.

What are the consequences of humans having to teach/input ethics into a machine?

Morality is based on values (value of objects, property, life, etc.). How are those values determined?

  • Utilitarianism – decisions based on the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Problem – You can never figure out how a particular event/person’s life is going to unfold. If you have to choose between saving a group of people or saving one—how do you know that the one person won’t be the one to come up with a cure for cancer, or start up an orphanage, etc. You can’t calculate what will happen down the road.

When Your Boss Wears Metal Pants

AI’s can be good! The problem is when a society that doesn’t have a firm foundation of what a human being is willing to give up our humanity to a machine that mimics our humanity, giving them human value. It doesn’t actually give them value, it removes our value. (Same thing for animals given as much value as humans.) Question to ask: How is this effecting our humanity?

Myth of Narcissus – he looks into a pool at his reflection, falls in love with himself, and it ultimately leads to his death. This is where we are headed with technology — we’ve made it to reflect ourselves in such a way that it’s now taking the place of human interactions. We’re “falling in love” with an imitation of humanity. Consumed with ourselves through our technology.





Close Reading and Analyzing Text

Close reading means reading for meaning and understanding. Follow these steps to perform your own close reading.

  1. To begin, read your passage slowly. You just want to get the general idea.
  2. Next, read the passage again; but this time you will be marking and writing on the page as you go. Look for the following things:
    • Vocabulary – Circle any vocabulary you are unfamiliar with. Can you guess what the word means by using the context? Look up the definitions if necessary.
    • Language choice – Underline any language that attracts your attention for any reason. Why do you find it interesting? What emotion does it evoke in you? Jot down your reasons.
    • Repetitions or patterns – Look for any words, phrases, or ideas that are repeated. Do you see any patterns? Mark them. If you have any ideas on why the author chose that pattern or repetition, make a note of it.
    • Questions you have – note them down, and remember there is no such thing as a stupid question. Try to list more open questions than closed questions.
  3. Now, go back and read the passage a third time. This time, you are looking for answers to your questions. If you find something that answers your question, write the answer down next to the question you had. Also, if you have any general comment to make, now is the time to write it down as well.
  4. The final step of close reading is reflecting on what you read and learned.
    • Do you still have any questions that are unanswered?
    • What are your overall thoughts and opinions? Do you agree/disagree with the author?
    • What is one idea from the author that stood out to you the most? Why?
    • Can you make any connections to your own life? Does the passage remind you about your own experiences? Other books or films? What are the similarities?
  5. Be prepared to discuss your reflections, insights, and questions with the class!

Poetry for World Literature

My Mother Pieced Quilts,” by Teresa Palomo Acosta

  • A first-person testimonial of a Chicano woman who connects her mother’s practical art of quilt making with her personal family and cultural histories
  • It’s a “plain literal translation” so it has no rhyme.
  • Historically and culturally, quilts represent a visual narrative that link the universal experiences of women
  • the narrator discovers the significance of the quilts in her understanding of herself
  • quilt became a portrait of family and self, of life and death, of labor and love
  • daughter inherits the stories in the quilts her mother pieced—preserves history and culture; serves as a historical document of the family
  • Acosta personifies the quilts as living things
  • mother’s piecing involves linking the past, present and future


Theme for English B” by Langston Hughes

  • free verse; enjambment;
  • Set in 1920’s Harlem Renaissance (an African-American art and cultural movement in the early 20th century.)
  • the black speaker of the poem reflects on his presence in an all-white English class, and how this experience is representative of a larger American experience.
  • For the first half of the poem, the speaker emphasizes the ways in which his ethnicity separates him, physically and figuratively, from his white classmates and professor.
  • speaker suggests that even though he is of a different race than his classmates and professor, he is not drastically unlike them
  • Hughes uses a different rhythm in the third stanza when the speaker explains the things that he likes (similar to jazz music)
  • his classmates and instructor are all a part of what the speaker might suggest is a larger American identity.
  • Black and white — both descriptors of race and the typing on a page
  • “Will my page be colored that I write?” i.e. will I be able to complete the assignment?

Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon





“Think as I Think” by Stephen Crane

“The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats