Can Artificial Intelligence Be Ethical?

PRINCETON – Last month, AlphaGo, a computer program specially designed to play the game Go, caused shockwaves among aficionados when it defeated Lee Sidol, one of the world’s top-ranked professional players, winning a five-game tournament by a score of 4-1. Why, you may ask, is that news? Twenty years have passed since the IBM computer Deep Blue defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov, and we all know computers have improved since then. But Deep Blue won through sheer computing power, using its ability to calculate the outcomes of more moves to a deeper level than even a world champion can. Go is played on a far larger board (19 by 19 squares, compared to 8×8 for chess) and has more possible moves than there are atoms in the universe, so…

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