2018 Covey Award: Professor Deborah G. Johnson

Dear Colleagues,

It is my privilege to announce that the International Association for Computing and Philosophy’s Executive Board has selected Deborah G. Johnson for the Covey Award recognizing senior scholars with a substantial record of innovative research in the field of computing and philosophy broadly conceived.

Deborah G. Johnson recently retired as the Anne Shirley Carter Olsson Professor of Applied Ethics in the STS Program within the Department of Engineering and Society. She continues to hold that title with emeritus status and she continues to be active in research and occasional teaching.

During her career, Johnson has taught engineering students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology, and the University of Virginia. Her teaching and her research have been broadly focused on Computer/Information Technology Ethics, Engineering Ethics, STS Theory and Policy Implications, and most recently she has been writing about Ethics, AI, and Robots.

Johnson published one of the first textbooks on computer ethics in 1985. The book was revised three times and translated into multiple languages. Drawing on her training in philosophy and ethics, she has published on a wide range of topics all directly or indirectly having to do with ethical, social, and policy implications of technology, especially information technology. Her publications include 7 books and over 80 pieces in journals, books, and other venues.

Johnson’s research has repeatedly received support from the National Science Foundation. Most recently she received awards focused on Surveillance and Transparency as Sociotechnical Systems of Accountability and a project on Ethics for Developing Technologies: An Analysis of Artificial Agents. She is currently working with a team of researchers at the University of Bergen who have funding from the Norwegian Research Council to explore the social implications of visual surveillance technologies in the news media.

Active in professional organizations, Johnson has served as President of the Society for Philosophy and Technology, President of the International Society for Ethics and Information Technology (INSEIT), Treasurer of the ACM Special Interest Group on Computers and Society, Chair of the American Philosophical Association Committee on Computers and Philosophy, and a member of the Executive Board of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.

In 2009 Johnson received the Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Linköping University in Linköping, Sweden. In 2004 Johnson received the John Barwise Prize from the American Philosophical Association for contributions to computing and philosophy; in 2001 she received the Sterling Olmsted Award from the Liberal Education Division of the American Society for Engineering Education; and in 2000 she received the Making a Difference award from the ACM Special Interest Group on Computers and Society (SIGCAS).

Due to a scheduling conflict, the Covey Award will be presented to Professor Johnson in absentia with her letter of acceptance preceding Dr. Edward N. Zalta’s Keynote Address. Please join us at IACAP 2018, June 21-23, Warsaw to extend Professor Johnson congratulations on this well-deserved award for her outstanding contributions to computing and philosophy.

http://www.iacap.org/iacap-2018/

Best,

Don Berkich
IACAP President

IACAP 2018 CFP Extended

Dear Colleagues,

Due to numerous requests, the executive board of the International Association for Computing and Philosophy has authorized an extension of the deadline for paper submissions from February 15th to March 15th for its June 21-23 meeting in Warsaw. The program committee will aim for an April 15th notification deadline.

Blind reviews will commence promptly for papers submitted by February 15th, observing the initial notification deadline of March 15th.

For revised submission guidelines and the updated CFP, please see

https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=iacap2018

Best Wishes,

Don Berkich
IACAP President

2018 Simon Award: Dr. Thomas C. King

Dear Colleagues,

It is my privilege to announce that the International Association for Computing and Philosophy’s executive board has selected Dr. Thomas C. King for the 2018 Herbert A. Simon Award for Outstanding Research in Computing and Philosophy, which specifically recognizes scholars at an early stage of their academic career whose research is likely to reshape debates at the nexus of Computing and Philosophy.

Dr. King is a postdoctoral Artificial Intelligence (AI) researcher at the University of Oxford working on the Ethical and Social Implications of AI (ESIAI) project in the Digital Ethics Lab (Oxford Internet Institute).

Dr. King’s research focuses on the ethical and social implications of AI and Machine Learning. His current research focuses on, from a technical (analytically and empirically) and societal perspective, AI’s potential use as an essential causal or instrumental factor in crime, in what sense AI-Crime is a novel phenomenon, and the technical and legal mitigating, redressing, and disincentivising policies available to relevant stakeholders. Dr. King’s background is in AI and Computer Science, particularly logic-based AI, having previously investigated Deontic and Institutional Logic, which are formalisations of norms, and related ethical or legal concepts. In short, Dr. King’s research takes an AI and computational perspective to investigate the ethical and social implications of AI, and AI-techniques for ethics and law.

Dr. King holds a PhD in AI from the Technical University of Delft specialising in non-monotonic Deontic Logic, the logic of social institutions, and AI governance. In his PhD, he investigated formal logic for capturing the legality of rule change within legal systems and compliance of laws within multi-level and cross-national contexts. Case studies included past judgements on data privacy in EU directives and European human rights law, and tensions between UK and EU law on rule changes. From formalisation, investigation focussed on automation for governing autonomous AI systems towards goals across systems and systems-of-systems, considering heterogeneity between agents and systems.

Dr. King will present the Simon Award Keynote Address at IACAP 2018, June 21-23, Warsaw. See http://www.iacap.org/iacap-2018/ for conference information and submission guidelines.

Please join us at IACAP 2018 to congratulate Dr. King on this well-deserved award.

Best Wishes,

Don Berkich
IACAP President

IACAP 2018 CFP

International Association for Computing and Philosophy – Annual Meeting

June 21-23, 2018, Warsaw, Poland

CFP

The International Association for Computing and Philosophy (IACAP) is delighted to announce that submissions are now being accepted for its 2018 annual meeting June 21-23, to be held at the Staszic Palace, Warsaw, the seat of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The meeting is being organized by Marcin Milkowski (the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences); keynote speakers include Ned Block (NYU) and Ed Zalta (Stanford).

Please note that IACAP 2018 is scheduled to dovetail with the 22nd meeting of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness, June 26-29, Kraków, which Professor Milkowski is co-organizing (http://theassc.org/assc-22/).

The International Association for Computing and Philosophy promotes philosophical dialogue and interdisciplinary research on all aspects of the computational and informational turn. Coming to these issues from a rich variety of disciplines, IACAP’s members have a tradition of helping to shape philosophical and ethical debates about the nature, development, application, and limits of computation, information technologies, and artificial intelligence.

IACAP’s 2017 meeting will gather philosophers, ethicists, logicians, roboticists, computer scientists, and cognitive scientists to explore topics including,

Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Life
Automated Warfare
Cognitive Science, Computation, and Cognition
Computational Modeling in Science and Social Science
Computer-Mediated Communication
Ethical Problems and Societal Impact of Computation and Information
Ethics and Epistemology of Big Data
History of Computing
Information Culture and Society
Metaphysics and Epistemology of Computation
Philosophy of Computer Science
Philosophy of Information
Philosophy of Information Technology
Philosophy of Mind
Robotics
Virtual Reality
… and related issues

We invite submissions of papers and proposals for symposia.

Important Dates:

Symposia:

Submission: January 15, 2018
Notification of Acceptance: February 1, 2018

Papers:

Submission: February 15, 2018
Notification of Acceptance: March 15, 2018

Paper and symposia submissions should be provided at: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=iacap2018

Paper submissions should:

  • Be prepared for blind review;
  • Be between 3000 and 6000 words; and,
  • Provide an abstract of 150-250 words.

Proposals for symposia should indicate:

  • The title of the proposed symposium;
  • A description of the topic and of its relevance for the IACAP membership;
  • A list the participants (indicating particularly those who have confirmed their participation); and,
  • The number of hours required.

Program Committee:

Patrick Allo
Brian Ballsun-Stanton
Paul Bello
Don Berkich
Selmer Bringsjord
Elizabeth Buchanan
Charles Ess
Luciano Floridi
Nir Fresco
Frances Grodzinsky
John Licato
Patrick Lin
Steve Mckinlay
Marcin Milkowski
Keith Miller
James H. Moor
Gualtiero Piccinini
Thomas Powers
Giuseppe Primiero
Miguel Angel Sicart
Judith Simon
Johnny Søraker
John Sullins
Mariarosaria Taddeo
Herman Tavani
Orlin Vakarelov
Shannon Vallor
Wendell Wallach
Marty Wolf

IACAP 2017 CFA Special Announcement: IT and Democracy

Dear Colleagues,

After many discussions about how best to respond to the selective Muslim travel ban in the U.S.–about which please see http://www.iacap.org/the-muslim-travel-ban-and-iacap-2017/–IACAP’s executive board has among other things opted to create a special track at IACAP 2017 (Stanford University, June 26-28) on Information Technology and Democracy, viz., the corrupting or preserving roles IT has played and could play, and the roles IT ought to play.

Submissions for the Information Technology and Democracy track in the form of extended abstracts (800+ words) should be submitted by March 15th via https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=iacap2017. Decisions will be made by April 15th.

Topics might include, but certainly are not limited to,

1. The fabrication and dissemination of “fake news”:

  • Fabrications created/disseminated through social media and blogs.
  • News-like advertising.
  • Conflict of interest in advertising and editorial processes.
  • The obligations of social media companies.

2. The creation of “alternative facts” in a “post-truth” world:

  • ‘Truth’ and the authoritarian uses of IT.
  • Exploiting confirmation bias.
  • Creating readily manipulable online communities.
  • The epistemic obligations of citizens.

3. The role of IT in evidence-gathering and verification:

  • Manipulating photographic and video evidence.
  • IT methods of creating and preserving trust.
  • Protecting and disseminating scientific data.
  • System hacking, leaks, and the obligations of whistle-blowers.

4. Trolling:

  • Trolling vs. engaging in online discussion.
  • Anonymity and sowing distrust.
  • Political and corporate online astro-turfing.
  • Protecting and promoting online democratic deliberation.

5. Democratic processes:

  • Poll-monitoring.
  • Digital voter verification.
  • Trust in voting mechanisms.
  • Online plebiscites.

6. Technology, protest, and political resistance:

  • Online civil disobedience.
  • Creating and coordinating protest movements.
  • Democratic controls on Big Data in massive digital surveillance.
  • Digital footprints and citizen vulnerability.

The Muslim Travel Ban and IACAP 2017

Dear Colleagues,

In light of the deplorable Muslim travel ban and the inspiring petitions to boycott conferences held in the States in response, IACAP’s executive board has been weighing our alternatives as we prepare for the 2017 meeting at Stanford University. Given the timing and the work that has already gone into preparing for the conference, we have decided to move forward with the conference as planned, with the final submissions deadline of February 15th fast approaching.

In doing so we seek neither to carry on as if business were as usual–it decidedly is not–nor in the slightest way to repudiate or ride roughshod over the concerns of those who choose to honor the boycott–with whom, frankly, we entirely agree.

We will do the best we can under the circumstances. To wit, we plan to

  1. Develop a special track on the role of information technology in protecting and corrupting democracy (an announcement and call for extended abstracts forthcoming shortly);
  2. Arrange for remote presentations from those affected by the travel ban, facilities permitting;
  3. Live stream the conference for the same, again facilities permitting; and,
  4. Take up a resolution at the conference business meeting–open to all members–whether to move future North American IACAP meetings to Canadian and Mexican venues, at least for the time being.

Respectfully Yours,

IACAP’s Executive Board

Don Berkich, President
Steve McKinlay, Executive Director
John Licato, Membership and Promotions Coordinator
Tom Powers, Director for Minds and Machines S.I.G.
Rosaria Taddeo, Member at Large and Past President
Giuseppe Primiero, Member at Large
Judith Simon, Member at Large

2017 Simon Award: Professor Andrea Scarantino

Dear Colleagues,

It is my privilege to announce that the International Association for Computing and Philosophy’s executive board has selected Andrea Scarantino for the 2017 Herbert A. Simon Award for Outstanding Research in Computing and Philosophy, which specifically recognizes scholars at an early stage of their academic career whose research is likely to reshape debates at the nexus of Computing and Philosophy.

Andrea Scarantino is Professor in the Department of Philosophy and in the Neuroscience Institute at Georgia State University, where he has served since 2005. He holds doctorates in History and Philosophy of Science (University of Pittsburgh, 2005) and Economics (Università Cattolica di Milano, 2000). Professor Scarantino has been awarded a John Templeton Foundation Grant on the Philosophy and Science of Self-Control (2016) and a Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany (2015-ongoing).

He is the editor of the forthcoming Routledge Handbook of Emotion Theory, a unique interdisciplinary resource that features chapters on all central theoretical challenges of contemporary emotion theory in a variety of disciplines. Professor Scarantino also serves as editor of Emotion Researcher (www.emotionresearcher.com), the sourcebook of the International Society for Research on Emotions, the main online reference resource on emotions currently available.

Professor Scarantino’s work encompasses two main topics: information and emotion. His primary objective has been to provide an explicative definition for both concepts that sharpens them while serving useful theoretical purposes. In more recent times, Scarantino has started to connect the two principal strands of his research. He is exploring what kinds of information the expression of an emotion broadcasts and how emotional expressions may have provided our ancestors with an informational infrastructure for the emergence of language.

With respect to information, Scarantino has argued that we are dealing with a mongrel concept in need of disambiguation, and offered a general theory of (natural) information as consisting of anything that makes a probabilistic difference to an uncertain outcome. This probabilistic understanding of information is shown to derive from converging insights of Shannon’s theory of communication and Bayesian confirmation theory and to be satisfactory with respect to the desiderata of contemporary cognitive science.

Some of his most significant articles on the nature of information and the role it plays in communicative episodes include “Information as a Probabilistic Difference Maker” (Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 2015), “Contextually Variable Signals Can Be Functionally Referential,” co-authored with Zanna Clay (Animal Behavior, 2014), “Rethinking Functional Reference” (Philosophy of Science, 2013), “Animal Communication as Information Mediated Influence,” in Animal Communication Theory: Information and Influence (2013, Ulrich Stegmann, ed.), “Information Processing, Computation and Cognition,” co-authored with Gualtiero Piccinini (Journal of Biological Physics, 2011), and “Information Without Truth,” co-authored with Gualtiero Piccinini (Metaphilosophy, 2010).

Professor Scarantino has also written extensively about emotions, arguing that the field has gone astray in trying to define emotions as either cognitions or feelings. As an alternative, Scarantino has proposed a general theory of emotions as action control systems, arguing that it is the only theory that makes sense of the distinctive way in which emotions motivate us to act, namely with urgency and with only a partial assessment of the information relevant to the decision at hand.

Some of his most significant articles on the nature of emotions and their complex connections to actions include “Do Emotions Cause Actions, and If So How?”(Emotion Review, 2017), “The Philosophy of Emotions and Its Impact on Affective Science”, in The Handbook of Emotions (2016, Lisa Feldman Barrett, Michael Lewis, and Jeanette Haviland-Jones, eds.), “Voodoo Dolls and Angry Lions: How Emotions Explain Arational Actions”, co-authored with Michael Nielsen (Philosophical Studies, 2015), “The Motivational Theory of Emotions”, in Moral Psychology and Human Agency (2014, Daniel Jacobson and Justin D’Arms, eds.), “Basic Emotions, Psychological Construction and the Problem of Variability,” in The Psychological Construction of Emotion (2015, James Russell and Lisa Feldman Barrett, eds), and “Insights and Blindspots of the Cognitivist Theory of Emotions” (British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 2010).

Professor Scarantino will present the Simon Award Keynote Address at IACAP 2017, June 26-28, Stanford University. See http://www.iacap.org/iacap-2017/ for conference information and submission guidelines.

Please join us at IACAP 2017 to congratulate Professor Scarantino on this well-deserved award.

Best Wishes,

Don Berkich
IACAP President

IACAP 2017 CFP Extended

Dear Colleagues,

Due to numerous requests, the executive board of the International Association for Computing and Philosophy has authorized an extension of the deadline for paper submissions from January 15 to February 15 for its June 26-28 meeting at Stanford University.

Symposia proposals should, however, still be submitted by the original January 15 deadline.

Blind reviews will commence promptly for papers submitted by January 15.

For submission guidelines and the updated CFP, please see

http://www.iacap.org/iacap-2017/

Paper and symposia proposals may be submitted to

https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=iacap2017

Best Wishes,

Don Berkich
IACAP President

2017 Covey Award: Professor Raymond Turner

The International Association for Computing and Philosophy’s Covey Award recognizes senior scholars with a substantial record of innovative research in the field of computing and philosophy broadly conceived.

IACAP’s Executive Board is delighted to announce that Professor Raymond Turner will be presented with the Covey Award at IACAP 2017, June 26-28, Stanford University, where he will present the Covey Award Keynote Address.

Professor Turner is Professor Emeritus of Logic and Computation in the School of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at the University of Essex, where he has served since 1985. Holding doctorates in Mathematical Logic and Theoretical Computer Science (Queen Mary College, London, 1973) and Philosophy (Bedford College, London, 1981). Professor Turner has also been a Sloan Research Fellow at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (1982) and CSLI, Stanford University (1984). He was Visiting Professor and Research Fellow at the University of Texas-Austin (1984 and 1987) and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (1984 and 1986). Currently he serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Logic and Computation and, for the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, as Editor of Logic and Computation.

Professor Turner’s work in Theoretical Computing Science and the Philosophy of Computer Science has been field-defining and ground-breaking. His books include Computable Models (Springer 2010), Constructive Foundations for Functional Languages (McGraw Hill 1991), Truth and Modality for Knowledge Representation (MIT Press 1990), and Logics for Artificial Intelligence (Pitman, 1984). His publications include “A Theory of Properties”, (Journal of Symbolic Logic, 1987), “The Foundations of Specification” (Journal of Logic and Computation, 2005), “Type Inference for Set Theory” (Theoretical Computer Science, 2001), “Specification”, (Minds and Machines, 2011), “Programming Languages as Technical Artefacts”, (Philosophy and Technology, 2014), “Logics of Truth” (Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic, 1990), and “The Philosophy of Computer Science”, (Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2013).

As Professor Turner describes his research,

The philosophy of computer science is concerned with those philosophical issues that arise from within the academic discipline of computer science. It is intended to be the philosophical endeavour that stands to computer science as philosophy of mathematics does to mathematics and philosophy of technology does to technology. Indeed, the abstract nature of computer science, coupled with its technological ambitions, ensures that many of the conceptual questions that arise in the philosophies of mathematics and technology have computational analogues. In addition, the subject will draw in variants of some of the central questions in the philosophies of mind, language and science.

In contrast, I take the central task of Theoretical Computing Science to be the construction of mathematical models of computational phenomena. Such models provide us with a deeper understanding of the nature of computation and representation. For example, the early work on computability theory provided a mathematical model of computation itself. Turing’s work is of fundamental importance here. Adapting Gödel’s diagonalization argument, he demonstrated that there are problems that do not admit of an algorithmic solution. He thus provided a mathematical model of computation that displayed its limitations. Later work on the semantics of programming languages enabled a precise articulation of the underlying differences between programming languages and led to a clearer understanding of the distinction between semantic representation and implementation. Early work in complexity theory supplied us with abstract notions which formally articulated informal ideas about the resources used during computation. I take this model building endeavour to be the central and fundamental role of theoretical computer science.

Please join us at IACAP 2017, June 26-28, Stanford University to congratulate Professor Turner on this well-deserved award.

http://www.iacap.org/iacap-2017/

Best,

Don Berkich
IACAP President

IACAP 2016 Keynote Address Videos

Our local hosts, Professors Marcello D’Agostino and Matteo D’Alfonso, have kindly provided video of the conference keynote addresses:

Videos courtesy of the Centro e-Learning d’Ateneo dell’UNiversità di Ferrara and Sara Gusberti, videographer.