Seminar: Mariarosaria Taddeo, "Informational Conflicts: A New Ethical Challenge"

Past Event

12 May 2010, 4:00pm - 6:00pm

Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

Abstract: Information warfare is a new form of conflict characterised by strategies designed to strike at communication nodes and infrastructures, and by the deployment of artificial agents as tools of offence (robotic weapons). It has its roots in the military use of intelligence as a strategic means, but has developed thanks to the revolutionary transformations caused by the pervasive use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Artificial Intelligence artefacts on the battlefield.

ICT have changed conflicts in four main ways. (1) They have completely revolutionized communications, making possible new modes of field operations. (2) ICT make possible the analysis of huge amount of data, thus enabling the military to take action in a timely and targeted way. (3) The growing dependence of societies and their militaries on ICT has given birth to cyberspace-based forms of attack designed to cause disruptions. (4) ICT provide the technology for the design of robotic weapons deployable on the battlefield. The scale and pace of such transformations is staggering. For example, at the beginning of the war in Iraq, U.S. forces had no robotic systems on the ground, by 2004, they had already deployed 150 robots, in 2005 this rose to 2,400, and by the end of 2008, about 12,000 robots of nearly two dozen varieties were operating on the ground.

Because it constitutes such a radical transformation in the nature and scope of armed conflicts, information warfare poses unprecedented problems for those who seek ethical guidelines for its management and resolution. One of the main problems to be faced concerns the fear evaluation of the levels of responsibilities for the actions performed by robotic weapons.
The objectives of the talk will be of analysing this problem and propose a new ethical analysis for its solution.

Mariarosaria Taddeo holds a European PhD in Philosophy from the University of Padua and she is currently affiliated to the Information Ethics Group (IEG), University of Oxford.

Her primary research interests are Philosophy of Information, Information and Computer Ethics, Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence and Multi-Agents Systems. During the past years her research focused on the Symbol Grounding Problem, one of the main problems in the field of Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence, and on the analysis of e-trust, a highly debated phenomenon in Computer Ethics.

Mariarosaria has recently been awarded a post-doctoral Marie Curie Fellowship, which is held at the University of Hertfordshire, where she is working on Informational Conflicts and their ethical implications.