My interest in artificial intelligence emerged during my pursuit of an undergraduate degree in philosophy. When I began my college studies, I had little concept of what philosophy was. I do not recall what caused me to sign up for my first philosophy course as a college freshman, but I vividly remember being presented with the brain in a vat thought experiment in a survey course called Theories of Knowledge & Reality and feeling completely fascinated.
Having piqued my interest with this introductory course, I continued my philosophy studies with additional courses in ethics and logic. However, that complete sense of awe I felt during my freshman year did not return until my junior year when I took a course entitled Minds & Machines. This course explored philosophical issues with artificial intelligence, and included a critique of the computational theory of mind and the study of thought experiments such as the Chinese Room.
Around this time in my academic career, I formally committed to pursuing a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, and also decided to pursue a law degree after I finished my undergraduate studies, primarily because I had to have an answer to the question: “What will you do with a philosophy degree?” Seriously, though, I genuinely felt that studying legal theory would interest me in a similar way that studying philosophy did.
I found myself most drawn to the area of intellectual property law, and in particular, copyright law. During my undergraduate studies, I had taken courses in the philosophy of art, and also completed a minor in Music Industry during a time of sea change for the music business due to the rise of digital music distribution, file sharing and illegal downloading. I was deeply fascinated with creations of the human mind, and how we as a society determine ownership of those creations.
After having practiced law now for seven years, I have been able to develop an intellectual property law practice, although I focus more on trademarks than copyright and the bulk of my firm’s work overall is in utility and design patents.
As part of a business development strategy for my intellectual property law practice, I try to keep close track of trends in innovation, both locally and internationally. Lately, it has been hard to ignore the increasing discussion taking place around autonomous vehicle technology. I grew up in the Detroit area, and I now live and work here, so I am used to constant chatter about the automotive industry. When I was growing up, the hot topic in cars was always electrification. Today, even though electric cars have still not achieved complete mainstream adoption, the discussion has almost completely shifted to “self-driving” or autonomous vehicles. And this time, this discussion seems different.
It appears to me that there has been some consensus that the next great leap in artificial intelligence technology will occur around highly autonomous vehicles. I see this as the reason why Silicon Valley titans are being mentioned regularly in the Detroit news cycle, and why Detroit’s major automakers are gracing headlines in tech blogs and magazines. I tend to share this belief and by starting this blog and podcast I am joining the discussion. I am most interested in how ethics will manifest in public policy decisions and through laws and regulation of both the development and implementation of artificial intelligence technology.