Erdős’s epitaph

Hat tip: Paul Ballew

Here I am: my brain is open.”

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Moe’s Tavern floor plan

Check out the fictional floor plans of the Cantina in Star Wars, the offices of Sterling Cooper in Mad Men, and many others here, via bizdaq. (Hat tip: digg.)

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L’affaire Jemele Hill and libertarian first principles

Is Donald Trump a racist? Is it not disrespectful and downright rude to sit down during the national anthem? Although we think Jemele Hill and Colin Kaepernick (pictured below) are wrong, as good libertarians (and good Bayesians!), aren’t we morally obligated to defend their moral right to express themselves? (After all, they might be right!) But that said, by the same logic, don’t NFL team owners and whoever calls the shots at ESPN also have the reciprocal right not to hire (or fire) people they disagree with? If so, whose right to speech should prevail in these cases? More fundamentally, what is the “optimal amount” of free speech?

Image result for we are with you Jemele Hill   Image result for we are with you Jemele Hill

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Lego art

Read more about the “Lego Mona Lisa” in Duncan Macleod’s post: Lego Masters in Pixel Art.

Hat tip: Cliff Pickover

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Moral machines?

Is it possible to teach machines the difference between right and wrong, and if so, what theory of ethics would we teach them, Kantian or Humean ethics? We finally discovered the work of Wendell Wallace, who addresses these esoteric questions in his book “Moral Machines” (available here, via Amazon), another must-read for us. (Dr Wallace gave the keynote lecture at the A.I.-and-the-law colloquium at the Savannah Law School this weekend.) We will read Dr Wallace’s work and report back in a future post.

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A modest proposal (Judge Posner edition)

Now that Richard Posner has announced his retirement from the bench, who will replace this legal legend on the Seventh Circuit? We propose IBM’s Watson computer! If Watson can be programmed to win game shows and diagnose patients, why couldn’t it be deployed to decide cases? Of course, even if President Trump followed our suggestion and appointed Watson to replace Posner, it would still have to be confirmed by the Republican do-nothing Senate, but really, who else could fill Posner’s shoes? (Caveat: if confirmed, would Watson have to recuse itself in any case in which IBM was a party or in any case involving artificial intelligence?)

For what it’s worth, this unorthodox idea occurred to me during a colloquium on A.I. and the law held at the Savannah Law School. In particular, shout out to Professor Kellyn McGee (@TheEthicsProf). It was a question she posed to me after my talk on “machine judges” that sparked this modest proposal.

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Machine Judges

That is the title of my work in progress, which I will be presenting at a colloquium to be held this weekend at the Savannah Law School on 516 Drayton Street (here is a link to the program), where lawyers, students, and scholars will meet to discuss and predict the impact automation and artificial intelligence (A.I.) will have on the law. In my case, I will raise the possibility of “machine judges”, or soft A.I. systems like IBM’s Watson that are capable of applying law to facts and resolving legal disputes.

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