Events @ C4E

  • Tue, Jan 28, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Parisa Moosavi, If Non-Sentient Organisms Can Have Rights, Why Can’t Robots? (Ethics of AI in Context)

    If Non-Sentient Organisms Can Have Rights, Why Can’t Robots?

    The fact that artificially intelligent machines are becoming increasingly capable of emulating human intelligent behavior has led some authors to speculate that at some point we would have to grant moral rights to these machines. Some such arguments are indirect and appeal to claims about how our treatment of robots affects us. But when it comes to direct argument about the moral status of machines, the discussion has mostly focused on the possibility that robots would one day develop sentience or mental capabilities like consciousness and self-awareness.

    However, the idea that the capacity for sentience is a necessary condition for moral considerability has been contested. Some environmental ethicists argue that non-sentient biological organisms, species, and ecosystems can potentially have a moral status, because they have a good of their own. This raises the question whether non-sentient robots can similarly enjoy a moral status.

    In this paper, I first give an account of what makes non-sentient organisms potentially morally considerable, and then explain why this moral considerability does not extend to non-sentient robots. I argue that the same considerations that keep us from thinking that the simplest artifacts like a toaster or a bicycle fall short of having a good of their own also apply in the case of more complex, artificially intelligent machines. Thus, I argue that unlike biological entities, non-sentient intelligent machines have no greater claim to moral rights than the simplest artifacts.

    ☛ please register here

    Parisa Moosavi
    York University
    Philosophy

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Jan 29, 2020
    Ethics at Noon
    Josée Johnston & Shyon Baumann, What is “Good” Food? How Foodies Negotiate Status and Ethics in Food Choices (Ethics@Noon)

    What Is “Good” Food? How Foodies Negotiate Status and Ethics in Food Choices

    How do foodies decide what is “good” food — food worthy of eating, discussing, researching and photographing? This talk will draw from research on foodies to discuss the ways that foods become venerated as high status choices. Our research charts the rise of an omnivorous food culture that values high-class cuisine alongside street-stand tacos and diner meals. Besides identifying key markers of foodie status, we will discuss how food choices relate to ethical consumption deals like democratic openness, multiculturalism, and sustainability. Drawing from a survey with Toronto-based food shoppers, we explore the intersection of foodie culture and ethical consumption. This data suggests the emergence of a high-status foodie who appreciates the finest, most delicious foods, while also seeking to feel ethically virtuous at the dining table.

    ☛ please register here

    Shyon Baumann
    University of Toronto
    Sociology 

     

     

    Josée Johnston
    University of Toronto
    Sociology

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Jan 29, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Vinyas Harish & Nuwan Perera, Machine Learning for Health at the Public-Private Boundary: Questions to Consider (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    Machine Learning for Health at the Public-Private Boundary: Questions to Consider

    Recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have spurred much interest and investment in the ‘disruption’ of healthcare.  Major breakthroughs in numerous areas of machine learning (ML) are leading to the creation of ‘decision support systems’ which promise to aid physicians throughout the trajectory of a patient’s care. Numerous major technology companies (e.g. Microsoft, Apple, Google) have identified healthcare as an untapped opportunity and key vertical for their business. As seen with recent headlines in the media (e.g. Google’s Project Nightingale), we propose that ML for health at the public-private boundary brings forward unique ethical considerations not seen with other technologies.  There is limited academic literature to inform decision-making by non-technical stakeholders and a lack of clarity around the practical discussion around what should be done when considering a [public-private?] partnership in this space. We provide a series of questions to guide the framework around making responsible decisions when partnering with private sector to design and deploy AI/ML solutions for health.

    ☛ please register here

    Vinyas Harish
    University of Toronto
    Medicine and Public Health

     

     

    Nuwan Perera
    Software Engineer
    integrate.ai

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Thu, Jan 30, 2020
    Ethics of Pedagogy
    Michael Barnes, The Diversity of Strategies for Diversifying Syllabi (Ethics of Pedagogy)

    The Diversity of Strategies for Diversifying Syllabi

    This workshop will explore the aims, strategies, and challenges of inclusive syllabus-design—especially (though not solely) from my situation as a white professor teaching topics outside of my lived experience. The main goal is to clarify ideas about what inclusive pedagogy is for, and broaden our ideas about what it looks like. To do so, we’ll consider a variety of models of inclusive syllabus-design, along with corresponding accounts of the problem(s) each is meant to address. Through a discussion of the challenges, limits, and the necessity of anti-oppressive education, participants can expect to leave this session with a more expansive conception of inclusive pedagogy they can put into action.

    ☛ please register here

    Michael Barnes
    University of Toronto and Ryerson University
    Philosophy

    04:30 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Jan 31, 2020
    Reading Series, Ethics & the Arts
    Poetics/Ethics: New Work by Queer Poets II

    Poetics/Ethics: New Work by Queer Poets II

    This is the second of four readings that will showcase contemporary queer poets working in Canada, based on the notion that ethics should be conceived as encompassing not just academic research but also literary writing. Each of these poets crafts new languages to describe and confront the interplay of lived experience and political critique. By bringing them together, we hope not only to foster a conversation between the authors of some of the most exciting poetry being written today, but also some of the most complex and subtle thinking about gender and sexuality and their intersections with race, indigeneity, migration, and colonialism. (Further editions will take place in February and March, and will feature writers including Gail Scott, Nora Fulton, and others.)

    Gwen Benaway is a trans girl of Anishinaabe and Métis descent. She has published three collections of poetry, Ceremonies for the Dead, Passage, and Holy Wild, and was the editor for an anthology of fantasy short stories, Maiden Mother and Crone: Fantastical Trans Femmes. Her writing has been critically acclaimed and widely published in Canada. She was a finalist for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ writers from the Writer’s Trust of Canada, the Lambda Literary Award for Trans Poetry, and the National Magazine Awards and Digital Publishing Awards for her personal essay, A Body Like A Home. Her fourth collection of poetry, Aperture, is forthcoming from Book*hug in Spring 2020. She is also currently editing a book of creative non-fiction, trans girl in love, forthcoming from Strange Light in 2020. She lives in Toronto, Ontario and is a Ph.D student at the University of Toronto in the Women and Gender Studies Institute.

     

    Sina Queyras is the author most recently of My Ariel. They live in Montreal.

     

     

    Kai Cheng Thom is a writer, performance artist, and community healer in Toronto. Her novel Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir was released by Metonymy Press in 2016. Her first poetry book, a place called No Homeland, and her children’s picture book From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea, illustrated by Kai Yun Ching and Wai-Yant Li, were both published by Arsenal Pulp Press in 2017. An essay collection entitled I Hope We Choose Love was published in 2019. Kai Cheng won the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers in 2017.

    ☛ please register here

    07:00 PM - 09:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Feb 5, 2020
    Ethics & the Arts, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!, Ethics in the City
    The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) (Ethics in the City Films)

    Jimmie Fails is in love with a Victorian house built by his grandfather in San Francisco’s Fillmore District. When the house’s current occupants leave for good, Jimmie and his friend Mont attempt to repair and reclaim the place that Jimmie most considers home, despite its prohibitive price tag and place in a gentrified, rapidly changing neighbourhood. Based on a true story, Joe Talbot’s directorial debut is a love letter to a disappearing side of San Francisco and a touching look at how communities are made — and kept alive — by the people who care for them.

    ➨ please register here

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Thu, Feb 6, 2020
    Ethics of Pedagogy
    Ameera Ali, Transcending Equality: Increasing Equity and Accessibility in University Classrooms

    Transcending Equality: Increasing Equity and Accessibility in University Classrooms

    This interactive talk will discuss how to make university classrooms more equitable and accessible through the implementation of Universal Design for Learning (UDL)—a framework for accessible teaching and learning. The talk will introduce participants to the tenets of UDL and we will discuss how to implement these principles in university classrooms through our pedagogy and praxis, to create accessible educational spaces and opportunities for students. As maintained by UDL, the classroom environment is to be a space where all students can thrive; as such, this talk will also evoke how UDL works to make classrooms more accessible for many equity seeking groups. Lastly, although the term ‘universal’ remains directly embedded within its name, this talk will also touch on the ways in which UDL may not be entirely universal as we consider how particular strategies may be effective for some students, yet inadvertently disadvantage others. We will discuss these implications while being mindful of the ethical considerations of teaching and learning.

    ☛ please register here

    Ameera Ali
    York University
    Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies

    04:30 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Feb 12, 2020
    Ethics at Noon
    Anna Su, The Promise and Perils of International Human Rights Law for AI Governance (Ethics@Noon)

    The Promise and Perils of International Human Rights Law for AI Governance

    The increasing use and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) poses many challenges for human rights. This paper is largely a mapping exercise and explores the advantages and disadvantages of using international human rights law to regulate AI applications.  Particularly, it examines existing strategies by international bodies, national governments, corporations and non-profit partnerships on how to govern and consequently ensure the development of AI is consistent with the protection of human rights. Not all of these strategies refer to or include references to human rights law or principles. In fact, most of them are self-adopted ethical guidelines or self-regulating norms based on a variety of sources to mitigate the risks and challenges of, as well as identifying the opportunities brought about by AI-powered systems. In recent years, academic and policy literature from a variety of disciplines has emphasized the importance of a human rights-based approach to AI governance. That means identifying risks to recognized human rights, obliging governments to incorporate their human rights obligations in their respective national policies, and even applying international human rights law itself. This was encapsulated in the Toronto Declaration, issued last May 2018 by a group of academics and civil liberties groups, which called on states and companies to meet their existing responsibilities to safeguard human rights. But save for few exceptions, it remains a question what and how that approach concretely looks like, and why it is beneficial to do so in the first place.

    ☛ please register here

    Anna Su
    University of Toronto
    Law

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Feb 12, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Suzanne van Geuns, Seduction, Scripts, and Self-Improvement: Antifeminist Forums and the Cultural Legacy of AI (Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars)

    Seduction, Scripts, and Self-Improvement: Antifeminist Forums and the Cultural Legacy of AI

    Debates about AI usually revolve around the futures AI applications enable and support, often neglecting how past visions of the AI future continue to shape culture today. Antifeminist ‘seduction’ forums are one example of AI’s cultural legacy. Such forums provide men with detailed procedural instructions: from ‘models’ for making women laugh at jokes, to a predetermined ‘ladder’ along which physical touch is to be ‘escalated’ gradually. Seduction instructions promise that men can conquer feminist indoctrination and become sexually successful alpha males by internalizing the proper scripts. This talk shows how the historical entanglement between cybernetics and cognitive psychology in early AI efforts reverberates in seduction instructions’ rhetorical tendency to imagine men as machines that need to be ‘re-programmed’ in order to improve themselves. Cultural visions of a future governed by ever-improving algorithms persist long after computational applications: seduction forums’ procedural and instructional approach to the ‘problem’ of feminism is inextricable from the imaginary horizon of AI.

    ☛ please register here

    Suzanne van Geuns
    University of Toronto
    Religion

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Feb 14, 2020
    Reading Series, Ethics & the Arts
    Poetics/Ethics: New Work by Queer Poets III
    Poetics/Ethics: New Work by Queer Poets III
    Gail Scott
    Lena Suksi
    07:00 PM - 09:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Feb 24, 2020
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Ashwini Vasanthakumar (Perspectives on Ethics)

    Ashwini Vasanthakumar
    Queen’s University
    Law

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Feb 25, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Ida Koivisto (Ethics of AI in Context)

    Thinking Inside the Box: The Promise and Boundaries of Transparency in Automated Decision-Making

    At break-neck pace, computers seem to be gaining abilities to do things we never thought to be possible. As humans are known to be biased and unreliable, should we hand decision-making over to computer programs and algorithms? Especially in routine cases, automated decision-making– computer-based decision-making without human influence (‘ADM’) – could help us overcome our deficiencies and lead to increased perception of fairness. So, problem solved?

    This seems not to be the case. There is growing evidence that human bias cannot be totally erased, at least for now. It can linger in ADM in many ways. As a result, it is not clear, who is accountable. Are the codes involved to blame? Or the creators of those codes? What about machine learning and algorithms created by other algorithms? The difficulty to answer these questions is often referred to as ‘the black box problem’. We cannot be sure how the inputs transform into outputs in the ‘black box’ between, and who is to blame if something goes wrong.

    Consequently, transparency is often proposed as a solution. For example, the call for transparency features in a great majority of AI ethics codes as well as in the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. No more black boxes, but transparent ones! The belief in transparency is hardly surprising, as its promise as a governance ideal is overwhelmingly positive. Although transparency can be approached in a plethora of ways, as a normative metaphor, its basic idea is simple. It promises legitimacy by making an object or behavior visible and, as such, controllable.

    In this talk, I will argue that the legitimation narrative of transparency cannot really deliver in its quest for resolving the black box problem in ADM. To that end, I will argue that transparency is a more complex an ideal that is portrayed in mainstream narratives. My main claim is that transparency is inherently performative in nature and cannot but be. This performativity goes counter the promise of unmediated visibility, vested in transparency. Subsequently, in order to ensure the legitimacy of ADM – if we, indeed, are after its legitimacy – we need to be mindful of this hidden functioning logic of the ideal of transparency. As I will show, when transparency is brought to the context of algorithms, its peculiarities will come visible in a new way.

    Ida Koivisto
    Law

    University of Helsinki

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Mar 4, 2020
    Ethics at Noon
    Christina Starmans (Ethics@Noon)

    Christina Starmans
    University of Toronto
    Psychology

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Mar 4, 2020
    Ethics & the Arts, Ethics & Film: Lights, Camera, Ethics!, Ethics in the City
    My Winnipeg (2007) (Ethics in the City Films)

    Guy Maddin blends fact and fiction, documentary and drama, reality and myth in this dreamy black-and-white tour of Winnipeg. Widely regarded as Maddin’s best film, My Winnipeg won the award for Best Canadian Feature Film when it premiered at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). A 2015 poll conducted by TIFF named it one of the Top 10 Canadian films of all time, while another in 2016 listed it as one of 150 essential works in Canadian cinema history.

    ☛ please register here

    06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

  • Mon, Mar 9, 2020
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Denise Ferreira da Silva (Perspectives on Ethics)

    Denise Ferreira da Silva
    University of British Columbia
    Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Mar 11, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context: Emerging Scholars
    Matthew Mahmoudi, Urban Technologies and Refugee Integration: Reinforcing Marginality? (Ethics of AI Emerging Scholars)

    Urban Technologies and Refugee Integration: Reinforcing Marginality?

    As emergent digital integration strategies are increasingly shaping urban refuge in cities such as Berlin and New York, it is important to interrogate whether they exclude, adversely include, or empower vulnerable migrant populations. The concept of the “smart city” is no longer sufficient to describe the ways these technologies invariably sort and control migrant bodies. Rather, the implications of this transition of technology actors into an emergent mobility-tech industry is better understood through an acknowledgement of a “digital periphery”– a digital enclosure in which the iconography of non-agentic others sustain value extraction from racialised bodies and places.

    ☛ please register here

    Matt Mahmoudi
    Cambridge
    Development Studies

    Matt Mahmoudi is a PhD candidate in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge, where he is also Program Lead at TheWhistle.org, an academic spin-out developing and researching digital human rights reporting suites. As Jo Cox Scholar, his research focuses on technological marginalisation in refugees and asylum seekers and examines the justice implications of new digital boundaries to life in cities in an era of “datafied refuge”. Matt co-coordinates the Cambridge branch of Amnesty International’s Digital Verification Corps, and co-founded and co-produces Declarations: The Human Rights Podcast at Cambridge’s Centre of Governance & Human Rights. Matt is  a coauthor on forthcoming OUP book ‘Digital Witness’.

    04:00 PM - 05:30 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Mar 13, 2020
    Conferences
    Workshop on the History of Race and Medicine

    Workshop on the History of Race and Medicine

    Vanessa Burrows
    Elena Comay del Junco

    Korey Garibaldi
    Evelynn Hammonds
    Linda Villarosa
    Yolonda Wilson

    09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Mar 17, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Igor Shoikhedbrod, Re-Politicizing the Future of Work in the Age of Automation and AI (Ethics of AI in Context)

    Re-Politicizing the Future of Work in the Age of Automation and AI

    The spectre of generalized automation and the unprecedented pace of developments in intelligent machine learning have brought into question the future of work and its normative value. The issues raised by ongoing debates about the future of work are undeniably interdisciplinary in scope—ranging from considerations in moral and political philosophy to economics, labour studies, and even futurism. With this interdisciplinary terrain in mind, the talk will take as its point of departure the ethical implications of automation and AI through a critical dialogue between normative political philosophy and political economy. I will begin by outlining the widespread empirical evidence suggesting that automation and AI will radically transform the ways that human beings conceive, perform, and grapple with work. Such empirical considerations, which include prognoses of mass unemployment, under-employment, as well as utopian and dystopian renditions of complete automation, necessitate a prior discussion about the normative value that is assigned to work and working. Indeed, even the most pragmatic policy questions about whether automation should be welcomed or discouraged are predicated upon the value or disvalue that commentators assign to work. I will argue that the meaning of work should be fundamentally rethought and contested in the age of automation and AI. Rather than calling for the abolition of work (i.e. post-work) and resigning to an abstractly-conceived universal basic income, priority should be given to reducing necessary labour-time through regulatory constraints that are wrested politically. Such a reduction in necessary labour-time should coincide with a diversification of the range of skills and activities that are performed by human beings in the age of automation and AI. However, these goals can only be achieved by revaluing and re-politicizing the future of work.

    ➡︎ please register here

    Igor Shoikhedbrod
    University of Toronto
    Centre for Ethics

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Mar 18, 2020
    Ethics at Noon
    Teresa Heffernan, The Immortality Industry and the Ethics of Death (Ethics@Noon)

    The Immortality Industry and the Ethics of Death

    Teresa Heffernan
    St. Mary’s University
    English

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Mon, Mar 23, 2020
    Perspectives on Ethics
    Sally Haslanger (Perspectives on Ethics)

    Sally Haslanger
    MIT
    Linguistics & Philosophy

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, Mar 27, 2020
    Reading Series, Ethics & the Arts
    Poetics/Ethics: New Work by Queer Poets II (Copy)
    Poetics/Ethics: New Work by Queer Poets IV
    Cody Caetano
    Nora Fulton
    07:00 PM - 09:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Tue, Mar 31, 2020
    Ethics of AI in Context
    Azim Shariff (Ethics of AI in Context)

    Azim Shariff
    University of British Columbia
    Psychology

    04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Wed, Apr 1, 2020
    Ethics at Noon
    Lauren Bialystok (Ethics@Noon)

    Lauren Bialystok
    University of Toronto
    Social Justice Education

    12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    200 Larkin

  • Fri, May 15, 2020
    Conferences, Ethics of AI in Context
    Conference: The Future of Work in the Age of Automation and AI

    This international and interdisciplinary workshop is designed to explore the implications and complications that automation and AI have introduced into the work-leisure matrix, by considering possible futures of work that have been framed in terms of ideas and proposals such as post-work, the distribution of care-work, and the implementation of a universal basic income. The workshop aims to take a broad approach to its subject matter, by including a wide spectrum of disciplinary perspectives, ranging from moral and political philosophy to law and political economy. Workshop proceedings will appear as a symposium in the Centre’s open-access journal.

    Confirmed speakers include:

    • Jeremias Adams-Prassl (Oxford, Law)
    • Aaron Bastani (Novara Media, Politics)
    • Aaron Benanav (Chicago/Berlin, History)
    • Julie Chen (University of Toronto, Communication)
    • Aleena Chia (Simon Fraser, Communication)
    • Veena Dubal (UC Hastings, Law)
    • Valerio De Stefano (Leuven, Law)
    • Cynthia Estlund (NYU, Law)
    • Sarah Roberts (UCLA, Information Studies)
    • Igor Shoikhedbrod (University of Toronto, Politics)

     

    09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
    Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
    Rm 200, Larkin Building

Past Events