Die Leidmaschine


Through the technological progress in recent history, these days machines are not only more powerful and faster than humans, they also possess the ability to think creatively and connectedly. IBM's »Watson« and Google's DeepMinds »Alpha Go« beat the best human players at Jeopardy and Go. Considering this development, it seems to be only a matter of time until computers learn to feel as well as being able to think. Where is the dividing line between lifeless machine and artificial intelligence? Using the »Leidmaschine« [The suffering machine], this line can be probed by asking an actual question: Is it permissible to inflict pain on a machine that can feel it? Utilitarian action should be designed to minimize suffering, but does this also apply to simulated suffering? What is the difference between ›simulated‹ and ›real‹ suffering? Is it important, which hardware or wetware experiences the suffering? Is it torture, to torment a machine whose only function is to bear suffering? Is it morally acceptable to build such a machine? The »Leidmaschine« has no answers to these questions. Rather, it is intended that the machine should inspire visitors to engage with the complex subject of artificial intelligence, and to find personal questions and answers.