This Cat Sensed Death. What If Computers Could, Too? – New York Times

Oscar the Cat, psychopomp of a Rhode Island nursing home, knew when residents were not long for this Earth. With recent advances in neural networks and artificial intelligence, Siddhartha Mukherjee ponders the possibilities of computers taking Oscar’s place. Considering 2009’s outcry against death panels, and tacit biases encoded in algorithms, why would anyone feel comfortable facing a final diagnosis from a faceless machine? Or worse, someone who could survive a devastating illness, but a computer’s opinion gives physicians reason to give up. Potent arguments aside, Siddhartha raises thorny issues running parallel with the hard problem of consciousness. (CS)

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