CSE 4/510 & PHI 498, Spring 2004
Position Paper #4: Are There Decisions Computers Should (Not) Make?
Last Update: 25 March 2004
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For this position paper, I would like you to evaluate the following argument:
- Certain computers (i.e., computers running certain computer programs)
can make rational decisions.
That is, they can determine the validity
of arguments and ascertain the probable truth-values of the premises
of the arguments, and they can consider the relative advantages and
disadvantages of different courses of action to determine the best
For example, there are computers that can diagnose certain
diseases and (presumably) recommend appropriate medical treatments.
- Suppose for the sake of argument that
some of these computers can make
decisions (and recommendations) on certain important matters
concerning human welfare.
- Suppose further that they can regularly make better
recommendations that human experts on these matters.
- Therefore, these computers should make decisions on these
important matters concerning human welfare.
Your position paper should be approximately
|1-2 typed pages, double-spaced (i.e., about 250-500 words),
to class on the due date.
This paper only needs the title "Position Paper #4", your name, the
date, and the course number (410, 498, or 510) at the top of the page.
For general assistance with writing (including my preferred method of
paper preparation and format, as well as advice on grammar), see my
website "How to Write".
For general guidelines on how to evaluate an argument, see the newsgroup
"Subject: POSITION PAPER 2 -- ANALYSIS & GRADING" or the website
Thinking Core Concepts" (also see its
table of contents).
DUE AT THE BEGINNING OF LECTURE, THURSDAY, APRIL 8
Copyright © 2004 by
William J. Rapaport