Mark Coeckelbergh

Mark Coeckelbergh is Professor of Philosophy of Media and Technology at the University of Vienna. He is the author of New Romantic Cyborgs: Romanticism, Information Technology, and the End of the Machine, AI Ethics (both published by the MIT Press), Introduction to Philosophy of Technology, and other books.

  • Robot Ethics

    Mark Coeckelbergh

    A guide to the ethical questions that arise from our use of industrial robots, robot companions, self-driving cars, and other robotic devices

    Does a robot have moral agency? Can it be held responsible for its actions? Do humans owe robots anything? Will robots take our jobs? These are some of the ethical and moral quandaries that we should address now, as robots and other intelligent devices become more widely used and more technically sophisticated. In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, philosopher Mark Coeckelbergh does just that. He considers a variety of robotics technologies and applications—from robotic companions to military drones—and identifies the ethical implications of their use. Questions of robot ethics, he argues, are not just about robots but, crucially and importantly, are about humans as well.

    Coeckelbergh examines industrial robots and their potential to take over tasks from humans; “social” robots and possible risks to privacy; and robots in health care and their effect on quality of care. He considers whether a machine can be moral, or have morality built in; how we ascribe moral status; and if machines should be allowed to make decisions about life and death. When we discuss robot ethics from a philosophical angle, Coeckelbergh argues, robots can function as mirrors for reflecting on the human. Robot ethics is more than applied ethics; it is a way of doing philosophy.

    • Paperback $16.95
  • 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
  • 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