CSE 4/510 & PHI 498, Spring 2004

Position Paper #4: Are There Decisions Computers Should (Not) Make?

Last Update: 25 March 2004

Note: NEW or UPDATED material is highlighted

For this position paper, I would like you to evaluate the following argument:

  1. Certain computers (i.e., computers running certain computer programs) can make rational decisions.

    1. That is, they can determine the validity of arguments and ascertain the probable truth-values of the premises of the arguments, and they can consider the relative advantages and disadvantages of different courses of action to determine the best possible choices.

    2. For example, there are computers that can diagnose certain diseases and (presumably) recommend appropriate medical treatments.

  2. Suppose for the sake of argument that some of these computers can make decisions (and recommendations) on certain important matters concerning human welfare.

  3. Suppose further that they can regularly make better recommendations that human experts on these matters.

  4. Therefore, these computers should make decisions on these important matters concerning human welfare.

Copyright © 2004 by William J. Rapaport (rapaport@cse.buffalo.edu)
file: 510/pospaper4-2004-03-25.html