Thursday, May 30, 2024

On the moral capacity of artificially intelligent beings

How about some more Science!?  This one comes courtesy of the research news out of my alma mater Georgia State University.  Psychology prof Eyal Aharoni and his students conducted a study in which folks compared the moral "reasoning" of other people with that of the AI language model GPT-4 (without knowing there was an AI behind those ideas).  And y'know what?  GPT-4 performed better than humans!

The authors hypothesized that this would be the case.  I'll admit that I was initially a little surprised by it...I guess I must have some human-centric bias leading me to believe that figuring out right vs. wrong is aided by a true human perspective.  I suppose I should have realized that, ultimately, it's just logic (just ask Mr. Spock!), and computers don't have all these silly emotions getting in the way of thinking through it.  (Yet.)  And does appear that the rationality of the moral decision-making is what put GPT-4's ideas at the top.

Interestingly, once they were told that a computer came up with one of the responses from each pair, participants were pretty darn good at figuring out which one it was.  Maybe the dystopian cyberpunk future where we're all at the mercy of a supercomputer's ethical calculations won't be so bad after all?

At any rate, if you'd enjoy seeing what this study is all about, you can find the summary at GSU's website HERE and the full, open access article HERE.


As for machines and decision-making...although I've never played one (except as an NPC while running a game), I've always enjoyed the idea of droid characters in Star Wars roleplaying.  It seems like a given that some people would want to play one, but I remember being unsure if it would be allowed when I first started exploring SW gaming...and pleased to see that they are character options in the major games I've looked at that are set in a galaxy far, far away.

The star of this blog post, GPT-4 itself, created this droid for me to use in WEG/D6 Star Wars (only edited a little...and adjusted to fit the four-attribute stats I'm making a habit of here):



Species: Droid

Strength 2D
Dexterity 3D
Knowledge 5D
Perception 4D

Abilities: Multispectral Sensors (+2D to Perception for environmental awareness), Tactical Assessment (grants +1D to tactics-related rolls), Adaptive Combat Systems (proficient in various combat techniques)

XR-7T is a formidable droid standing at 1.5 meters tall, with a polished gunmetal gray alloy casing and piercing blue photoreceptors. Equipped with advanced multispectral sensors, rapid data processing capabilities, and tactical algorithms, XR-7T excels in reconnaissance, combat analysis, and strategic planning. Its arsenal includes retractable blasters, energy blades, and stealth systems, making it equally adept at covert operations and frontline combat.

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