Showing posts from August, 2020

On bad questions (series: notes to myself)

Some questions are bad. Not because they are stupid. Stupid questions are so because of their content, or context, or implications. Stupid questions can also be bad, of course, but bad questions need not be stupid. Questions are bad because they make you look bad when you answer them. For they are questions badly formulated. They are "loaded". So if you wish to avoid a silly answer, you must be ready to question the question, and this is not only bad manners, it also gives the impression that one is trying to dodge the question . Bad questions seem to be of at least two kinds. Yes or no questions. "So, in the end, and to be clear about what you really think: is true, universal Artificial Intelligence possible or not?". If you say no, you are wrong, because there is a sense in which AI is possible, i.e. it is not logically impossible (a contradiction). But if you say yes, then you are wrong, because true, universal AI, the kind you see in sci-fi movies, is factually

The fight for digital sovereignty: what it is, and why it matters, especially for the EU

This article is forthcoming in Philosophy & Technology 33.3 (September) 2020,  as Editor Letter. Digital sovereignty seems to be something very important, given the popularity of the topic these days. True. But it also sounds like a technical issue, which concerns only specialists. False. Digital sovereignty, and the fight for it, touch everyone, even those who do not have a mobile phone or have never used an online service. To understand why, let me start with four episodes. I shall add a fifth shortly. 18 June 2020: the British government, after having failed to develop a centralised, coronavirus app not based on the API provided by Google-Apple,  gave up, ditched the whole project (Burgess 19 June 2020), and accepted to start developing a new app in the future that would be fully compatible with the decentralised solution supported by the two American companies. This U-turn was not the first: Italy (Longo 22 April 2020) and Germany (Busvine and Rinke 26 April 2020, Lomas 27 Apr