A new Bite Size Discussion Group which will follow a course in human psychology and the ethics of artificial intelligence by Carnegie Council called “All Things Have Standing”.  The idea, for those new to this type of learning, is that you watch by yourself the videos relevant to the next meeting and then discuss it in the group at that meeting.

Group Coordinators: Vivek Nanda (click to contact)

At 2.30pm on (2023) 6 October, 3 November, 1 December, (2024) 2 February, 1 March, 5 April, 3 May, 7 June, 5 July

In-person session from 2:30 pm at a public venue in Islington on 6 October 2023 to get to know each other followed by discussions on Zoom on the first Friday of the next 8 months.


6 October 2023: In-person session from 2:30 pm at a public venue in Islington to get to know each other.

3 November 2023: To discuss the following videos:

All Things Have Standing: 1.1 - Our Stories - Introduction
From birth and the beginnings of thought, to a future now upon us, we seek to comprehend radical things in our new world: changes in the Earth and smart machines in human form. Is this a cause for wariness, wonder, or abject terror? Has meaning abandoned us? Or, have we abandoned meaning? Confronted with complex psychological, technical, ethical, and legal challenges, we search for a practical conception of the notion of “being” itself                                                                                                        

All Things Have Standing: 1.2 - Our Stories - Being
In this beginning we ponder the foundations of our humanity. What is the basic psychology of human nature? What is the essence of the human being, and being human? What is time? What is the relationship between being and time? How does addressing these vital questions help us understand everyday life?


All Things Have Standing: 1.3 - Our Stories - Becoming
Human development is a path. How is our path different from other animals? What are our instincts for emotional attachment? Why are humans hyper-social uber-cooperative collaborators? What is culture? Why does culture engage our loyalties and stir our passions? And how does culture help us find meaning amidst existential anxiety?


All Things Have Standing: 1.4 - Our Stories - Not Being
Human beings can envision the future. How does this affect our thinking, feeling, and being? Is self - awareness a dreadful burden or the ultimate joy of being human, or both? What is the impact of the uniquely human awareness of personal mortality on behavior and motivation? Are there grounds for hope?


1 December 2023: To discuss the following videos:

All Things Have Standing: 1.5 - Our Stories - Storytelling & the Self Panel
Narrative is thought to be the first use of human language. People have been telling stories and listening to stories since the inception of our species. Four storytellers from different cultures describe and discuss the rich heritage of stories in the human community.


All Things Have Standing: 1.6 - Our Stories - Uncertainty
A musical musing on the usefulness of human uncertainty


2 February 2024: To discuss the following videos:

All Things Have Standing: 2.1 - Others' Stories - Introduction
Helping find our relationship to others is the central challenge of ethics. Since antiquity, humans have debated what that relationship should be. What is good and evil? What is caring? With a world in pain, care and goodness seem inadequate to meet the challenges of our time. Is there a way of ethical thinking–a way of being–that might serve as a starting point for confronting the great existential problems of our time?          


All Things Have Standing: 2.2 - Others' Stories - A Bold Proposition
Beginning with the question “How can all things have ethical standing?” Prof. DiBona introduces traditional ideas behind Western thinking about otherness and how this has led to a culture of violence against each other and the natural world.


All Things Have Standing: 2.3 - Others' Stories - Welcoming Others
What is the “other”? How does altering our way of thinking about the other change how we anticipate – or expect – others to be and act? What is radical hospitality? What are its benefits?     


All Things Have Standing: 2.4 - Others' Stories - Letting Things Be
Starting with the question “What is an ethics of things?” Prof. DiBona describes Prof. Benso’s joining of two traditions of Western thought. What does an examination of our way of talking about things teach us about our relationship to those things? What does “thing” mean? Are language and behavior conjoined?

All Things Have Standing: 2.5 - Others' Stories - An Ethics of All Things
In this culminating lecture in the story of the “other,” we reach the end of the beginning. Drawing on the powerful thinking of his contemporaries, Prof. DiBona guides us to an optimistic, life - affirming celebration of difference, and with Prof. Benso, calls for a daily life of tenderness and festivity. Is this a reason to hope?

1 March 2024: To discuss the following videos:

All Things Have Standing: 2.6 - Others' Stories - On Tenderness Panel
Scholars from African, Pacific Indigenous, and Asian cultures share their professional and personal insights about what “all things have standing” means in their lives, to their emotional well-being, and in their fears and joy. What do these traditions have in common? What can Western culture learn from them? Our scholars share their wishes for humanity.

5 April 2024: To discuss the following videos:


All Things Have Standing: 3.1 - Earth's Stories - Introduction
Prof. Solomon recaps the ethical framework developed in Part 2 – that all things have standing – and introduces us to one of its major applications, the care of our Earth. We explore what that ethical and legal landscape looks like with scholar and activist Dianne Dillon-Ridgley and legal respondent, Kathy Robb.


All Things Have Standing: 3.2 - Earth's Stories - It's Time to Mother Earth
Dianne Dillon-Ridgley proposes a relationship with our physical environment that replaces what Martin Heidegger critically called “standing reserve” – the widely believed notion that all things have meaning only to the extent that they prove useful to humans.

All Things Have Standing: 3.3 - Earth's Stories - What is Standing?
Environmental lawyer Kathy Robb explains the relationship between ethics and the law. What do we mean when we say that our physical environment has standing? 

All Things Have Standing: 3.4 - Earth's Stories - Re-Membering the Future
Dianne Dillon-Ridgley calls for a thoughtful, deliberate process of designing our fate by “re-membering our future,” that is, populating our lives with specific elements of character like humility and justice.

3 May 2024: To discuss the following videos:


All Things Have Standing: 3.5 - Earth's Stories - Legal Challenges to Fresh Thinking
Kathy Robb addresses the question: As we shift from a human centric to an ecocentric view of ethical and legal standing, which rights of personhood might be applied to things in our environment?

All Things Have Standing: 3.6 - Earth's Stories - The Justice Century
Dianne Dillon-Ridgley explores the nature of tenderness applied to the physical world and its relationship to justice. Using historical examples, she asks us to consider how making difficult decisions today can bring justice to what may be legal, but lacks morality and inclusion.


All Things Have Standing: 3.7 - Earth's Stories - Momentum & Urgency
What is environmental justice? Environmental lawyer Kathy Robb explores the notion that, in addition to standing, entities need voice, information, and access to give power to enforcement on their behalf.


All Things Have Standing: 3.8 - Earth's Stories - Yosemite Arches
A satirical look at the morality of property rights and the environment.

7 June 2024: To discuss the following videos:


All Things Have Standing: 4.1 - Future Stories - Introduction
Lead scholar Prof. Sheldon Solomon introduces Part 4, an exploration of the ethics of creating, deploying, and living with artificial general intelligence (AGI) – machines with human level cognition and emotional intelligence, or better. Is designing a moral machine possible? If all things have standing, how should we listen to and see these new beings in our world, perhaps misleadingly called “inanimate”? Or at least, can trying to answer that question guide us in designing machines that can live safely and with benevolent purpose in human society?


All Things Have Standing: 4.2 - Future Stories - Ethics and Machines
Scholar Wendell Wallach, who has spent decades exploring the development of roboethics, is a “friendly skeptic” with regard to the advent of true artificial general intelligence (AGI). But he is very aware that we are moving into a period of functional morality for machines and, thus, may need to accept moral standing for these new beings.


All Things Have Standing: 4.3 - Future Stories - Design Challenges
Wendell Wallach explores capacities beyond reason – the suprarational – that are required for moral agency: hybrid systems that learn from the bottom up and apply moral models from the top down.


All Things Have Standing: 4.4 - Future Stories - Humans as Models
Wallach looks at the commonalities and differences between humans and advanced thinking machines to identify where the biggest challenges and strengths arise in AGI development – what humans have that machines do not, and what humans lack.

5 July 2024: To discuss the following videos:


All Things Have Standing: 4.5 - Future Stories - Machine Morality
What kind of morality could machine morality be? Prof. Shannon Vallor raises complex ethical issues: Does rule-following constitute morality? What is the role of moral understanding in ethical standing? and more.


All Things Have Standing: 4.6 - Future Stories - Personhood
What would it take for intelligent machines to attain personhood? Prof. Shannon Vallor explores this question, deeply troubling to many and yet for others, a cause for a promising reassessment of what it means to be a person.                     

All Things Have Standing: 4.7 - Future Stories - Machine Virtue
In this closing chapter of our journey through the ethics of artificial intelligence, Prof. Shannon Vallor explores the fundamental philosophical and practical question humanity must answer if we are to live harmoniously with smart machines: Is it possible to build a machine that has virtue?

Predecessor Bite Size Group
Moralities of Everyday Life
7 October: Introductions from Week 1 of the course with 22 min. of videos
  • Introduction to the Course.
4 November: the Big Questions from Week 1 of the course with 55 min. of videos.
  • What is Morality?
  • Philosophical Approaches.
  • Reason vs. Emotions.
2 December: the Big Questions from Week 1 of the course with 42 min. of videos.
  • The Case of Disgust.
  • Cute and Sexy.
  • Return to the Trolley Problem.
  • The Big Questions.
2023, 6 January: Compassion from Week 2 of the course with 75 min. of videos.
  • Caring About Others.
  • How Do We Treat Strangers?
  • Empathy and Concern.
  • Empathy and its Limits.
3 February on Origins of Morality from Week 3 of the course with 84 min. of videos.
  • Moral Diversity.
  • Moral Universals.
  • Evolution of Morality.
  • Reciprocal Altruism.
  • Development of Morality.
  • How Much Can Evolution Explain?
3 March on Origins of Morality from Week 3 of the course with 98 min. of videos.
  • Guest Lecture, Laurie Santos@1h 10m.
  • Discussion with Laurie Santos@28m.
7 April on Differences from Week 4 of the course with 44 min. of videos.
  • Moral Differences.
  • Kinds of Societies.
  • Conservatives and Liberals.
5 May on Differences from Week 4 of the course with 66 min. of videos.
  • Disgust and Honor I.
  • Disgust and Honor II.
  • Religion and Morality I.
  • Religion and Morality II.
2 June on Family, Friends, and Strangers from Week 5 of the course with 95 min. of videos.
  • Moral Circles.
  • The Morality of Group Preference.
  • What Groups Matter?
  • Stereotypes.
  • Economic Games.
  • Criticisms of Economic Games.
  • How Do We Naturally Respond to Strangers?
  • The Problem of Kindness.
7 July on The Big Answers from Week 6 of the course with 56 min. of videos.
  • Morality as Part of Our Nature.
  • Skepticism About the Self.
  • Free Will and the Situation.
  • Conclusion.
              Gauguin - D'ou venons-nous

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