141 East College Avenue, Decatur, GA 30030

View map

Abstract: When we watch Westworld or Bladerunner or Ex Machina, we feel a tension within us.  We know that the robots are programmed inorganic machines, but as the plot unfolds, we also begin to experience some of them not as automatons, but as autonomous. We begin to see them as persons, not mere programs. What spark do we see in these robots that flips the switch in us so that we see them as more than mere machines?  By considering this question, we can learn more about why consciousness matters for free will in humans and potential future robots.  We will also discuss whether or not we ever could make such robots and whether or not we should.

Bio:  Eddy Nahmias is a professor in the Philosophy Department and Neuroscience Institute at Georgia State University.  He specializes in philosophy of mind, moral psychology, and experimental philosophy, with research focusing on debates about free will, moral responsibility, and punishment.

Event Details