Colloquium Cognitive Systems

Studies in Computational Metaphysics and Computational (Pseudo-)Ethics

Prof. Dr. habil. Christoph Benzmüller (FU Berlin, University of Luxembourg)


Abstract. If humans and intelligent machines are supposed to peacefully co-exist, appropriate forms of machine-control and human-machine-interaction are required. Intelligent machines should assess and explain their (options for) actions and decisions in a form that is accessible to human understanding. In recent AI systems, however, which put a strong focus on sub-symbolic representations and machine learning, this vision seems severely under-explored. In particular, much needed normative (ethical/moral, legal, etc.) reasoning competencies can hardly be realised in them based on statistical methods alone.
But what are the most adequate logical formalisms to support advanced normative reasoning in intelligent machines? This question seems not fully settled yet. Benzmüller argues for the development of a flexible reasoning infrastructure supporting experiments with different, advanced logical systems for normative reasoning. The framework he proposes is based on the meta-logical approach that he successfully applied (with colleagues and students) in previous studies in philosophy, computer science and maths.
In his presentation Benzmüller will outline this approach and illustrate it with a prominent showcase from metaphysics: a computer-supported analysis of Kurt Gödel’s variant of the ontological argument for the existence of God. He will then provide evidence that the very same approach can be adapted to support corresponding experiments in normative reasoning.

Bio. Christoph Benzmüller is a professor at the Freie Universität Berlin (where he holds a venia legendi in computer science and mathematics) and a visiting scholar of the University of Luxembourg.
Previous research stations of Christoph include Stanford University (USA), University of Cambridge (UK), Saarland University, University of Birmingham (UK) and the University of Edinburgh (UK).
Christoph received his PhD (1999) and his Habilitation (2007) in computer science from Saarland University. His PhD research was supported by the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes and partly conducted at Carnegie Mellon University (USA). In 2012, Christoph was awarded with a Heisenberg Research Fellowship of the German National Research Foundation (DFG).