Recommended ReadingWhile working on my sabbatical, I've found a large number of books, articles and other resources very helpful. While an exhaustive bibliography on the various topics of interest would be a massive undertaking, here are a few of the books that I found most useful.
Liars and Outliers:
Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive
In this book, Bruce Schneier, a highly respected expert in cyber security, addresses the sociology and mechanisms of trust. He discusses how and why society itself is dependent upon trust and the various mechanisms by which it is maintained.
The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics
This anthology focuses largely upon a subset of personified systems: robots, machines whose actions are physical in nature, rather than upon entirely virtual systems such as Siri and the like. Nonetheless, most of the discussion is germane to the larger class.
The Master Algorithm:
How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World
One of the ways that autonomous systems are becoming most like persons is machine learning, the beginning of the ability of systems to essentially program themselves. This book lays out five major approaches to machine learning, relates them to disciplines from neuroscience, evolution, psychology, physics, and statistics and attempts to define what it would take to create a universal learner, what he calls the “Master Algorithm”.
This book is an oft-cited classic in its field, the ethical norms of human “white collar” professionals: doctors, lawyers, teachers, architects and the like. While we are far from having automated systems that are fully capable as autonomous professionals, one of the major roles of existing personified systems is as virtual assistants, either to professionals or in the areas of the professions. Therefore, the norms that apply to personified systems bear a strong resemblance to professional ethics, which thus deserve our consideration.