Jocelyn Maclure

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AI Ethics: A Deflationary Yet Cautionary Tale

The field of “AI ethics” is effervescent. While some scholars wonder whether the interests of artificial agents endowed with “general intelligence” will be aligned with human values, others want us to focus on the immediate challenges raised by the weak and narrow AI systems that are currently being developed. Civil society actors, policy makers, elected officials, international organizations and some business leaders reflect on the best ways to regulate AI. In this talk, I will first suggest that what I call “inflationary” thinking about the future development of AI and its likely impacts on human life hinders a sober reflection on the risks created by current AI technologies and the ways to mitigate them. Second, I will attempt to show how a deflationary view can help addressing the “explainability problem” plaguing decision-making or predictive machine learning algorithms.    ​

After obtaining a bachelor's degree from Laval University (1997) and a master's degree from the University of Victoria (1999), Jocelyn Maclure was awarded a D. Phil. at the University of Southampton (UK) in 2003 (thesis title: "Disenchantment and Democracy: Public Reason under Conditions of Pluralism"). He has conducted postdoctoral training at the Ethics Research Center of the University of Montreal and the University of Toronto (2003-2004) and he was a professor or visiting scholar at several universities. He is Chairman of Board of ethics in science and technologysince January 2017. He has worked as an expert analyst for the Bouchard-Taylor Commission on Accommodation Practices for Cultural and Religious Diversity, co-founded in 2012 the magazine Nouveau Projet, and he contributes to the "Debates" section of The Press +. He can often be heard at the Première Chaîne of Radio-Canada. He was co-chair of the Chair in Philosophy in the World Today from 2011 to 2018.

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