Mark Coeckelbergh

Mark Coeckelbergh is Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Vienna and author of New Romantic Cyborgs: Romanticism, Information Technology, and the End of the Machine (MIT Press).

  • AI Ethics

    AI Ethics

    Mark Coeckelbergh

    An accessible synthesis of ethical issues raised by artificial intelligence that moves beyond hype and nightmare scenarios to address concrete questions.

    Artificial intelligence powers Google's search engine, enables Facebook to target advertising, and allows Alexa and Siri to do their jobs. AI is also behind self-driving cars, predictive policing, and autonomous weapons that can kill without human intervention. These and other AI applications raise complex ethical issues that are the subject of ongoing debate. This volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series offers an accessible synthesis of these issues. Written by a philosopher of technology, AI Ethics goes beyond the usual hype and nightmare scenarios to address concrete questions.

    Mark Coeckelbergh describes influential AI narratives, ranging from Frankenstein's monster to transhumanism and the technological singularity. He surveys relevant philosophical discussions: questions about the fundamental differences between humans and machines and debates over the moral status of AI. He explains the technology of AI, describing different approaches and focusing on machine learning and data science. He offers an overview of important ethical issues, including privacy concerns, responsibility and the delegation of decision making, transparency, and bias as it arises at all stages of data science processes. He also considers the future of work in an AI economy. Finally, he analyzes a range of policy proposals and discusses challenges for policymakers. He argues for ethical practices that embed values in design, translate democratic values into practices and include a vision of the good life and the good society.

    • Paperback $15.95 £12.99
  • New Romantic Cyborgs

    New Romantic Cyborgs

    Romanticism, Information Technology, and the End of the Machine

    Mark Coeckelbergh

    An account of the complex relationship between technology and romanticism that links nineteenth-century monsters, automata, and mesmerism with twenty-first-century technology's magic devices and romantic cyborgs.

    Romanticism and technology are widely assumed to be opposed to each other. Romanticism—understood as a reaction against rationalism and objectivity—is perhaps the last thing users and developers of information and communication technology (ICT) think about when they engage with computer programs and electronic devices. And yet, as Mark Coeckelbergh argues in this book, this way of thinking about technology is itself shaped by romanticism and obscures a better and deeper understanding of our relationship to technology. Coeckelbergh describes the complex relationship between technology and romanticism that links nineteenth-century monsters, automata, and mesmerism with twenty-first-century technology's magic devices and romantic cyborgs.

    Coeckelbergh argues that current uses of ICT can be interpreted as attempting a marriage of Enlightenment rationalism and romanticism. He describes the “romantic dialectic,” when this new kind of material romanticism, particularly in the form of the cyborg as romantic figure, seems to turn into its opposite. He shows that both material romanticism and the objections to it are still part of modern thinking, and part of the romantic dialectic. Reflecting on what he calls “the end of the machine,” Coeckelbergh argues that to achieve a more profound critique of contemporary technologies and culture, we need to explore not only different ways of thinking but also different technologies—and that to accomplish the former we require the latter.

    • Hardcover $50.00 £40.00