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Why Conscious AI Would Be Bad for the Environment

Image credit to Griffin Kiegiel and Sami Aksu

This is a guest post by Griffin Kiegiel.

Since the meteoric rise of ChatGPT in 2021, artificial intelligence systems (AI) have been implemented into everything from smartphones and electric vehicles, to toasters and toothbrushes. The long-term effects of this rapid adoption remain to be seen, but we can be certain of one thing: AI uses a lot of energy that we can’t spare. ChatGPT reportedly uses more than 500,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity daily, which is massive compared to the 29 kilowatt-hours consumed by the average American household.

As the global temperature and ocean levels rise, it is our responsibility to limit our collective environmental impact as much as possible. If the benefits of AI don’t outweigh the risks associated with increasing our rate of energy consumption, then we may be obligated to shut down AI for the sake of environmental conservation. However, if AI becomes conscious, shutting them down may be akin to murder, morally trapping us in an unsustainable system.

What is the real problem with food deserts?

Hispanic Sodas Sabor Tropical Supermarket Miami” by Phillip Pessar is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

This is a guest post by Emma Holmes (University of St Andrews/University of Stirling)

Why do some people choose to eat unhealthy food? Earlier this year, Kate Manne – Cornell philosopher and author of several books about misogyny – published Unshrinking, a fascinating and compelling critique of fatphobia. Throughout, she argues against moralising our food choices. There is nothing immoral about wanting to eat greasy, salty, delicious, processed food, says Manne. I agree – but I think she misses something. People’s food preferences are not just random – some people prefer to eat unhealthy foods because their desires have been shaped by an unjust system.

I’ll focus on Manne’s discussion of food deserts to make this point. A so-called ‘food desert’ is a place where there is nowhere nearby or affordable to access healthy food. The term ‘desert’ makes it sound as if this problem is naturally occurring, which it is not – food deserts are the result of urban planning decisions and they disproportionately affect poor people and people of colour. I argue that people who live in food deserts are done an injustice because they are influenced to prefer foods which are bad for their health.  

What’s really at stake with Open Access research? The Case of Sci-Hub and the “Robin Hood of Science”

A mural dedicated to Sci-Hub at UNAM. Txtdgtl, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This is a guest post by Georgiana Turculet (Universitat Pompeu Fabra).

In his recently published “More Open Access, More Inequality in the Academia”, Alex Volacu aptly criticizes present Open Access (OA) policies for giving rise to structural inequalities among researchers, and increasing revenues only for publishers. His analysis is aimed at contextualizing some recent academic events, that is, the board of the well-known Journal of Political Philosophy resigning due to pressures from publishers to increase the intake of open access publications. However, it would benefit from considering the wider context of recent alternative form of resistance to corporate publishers’ pressures.

What Claims Do We Have Over Our Google Search Profiles?

This is a guest post by Hannah Carnegy-Arbuthnott (University of York).

We’ve all done things we regret. It used to be possible to comfort ourselves with the thought that our misadventures would soon be forgotten. In the digital age, however, not only is more of our personal information captured and recorded, search engines can also serve up previously long-forgotten information at the click of a button.

Welcome to our 2023/24 session!

Justice Everywhere is back for a new season. We continue in our aim to provide a public forum for the exchange of ideas about philosophy and public affairs.

We have lots of exciting content coming your way! This includes:

  • Weekly posts from our a wonderful team of house authors, offering analysis of a vast array of moral, ethical, and political issues on Mondays.
  • The continuation of our collaboration with the Journal of Applied Philosophy, introducing readers to cutting-edge research being published on justice-related topics in applied and engaged philosophy.
  • More from our special series: Beyond the Ivory Tower where we interview those who work at/across the boundary between theory and practice, and Teaching Philosophy.

So please follow us, read and share posts on social media (we’re on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), and feel free to comment on posts using the comment box at the bottom of each post. If you have a suggestion for a topic or would like to contribute a guest post on a topical subject in political philosophy (broadly construed), please feel free to get in touch with us at justice.everywhere.blog@gmail.com.

From the Vault: Justice, Culture, and Society

While Justice Everywhere takes a short break over the summer, we recall some of the highlights from our 2022-23 season. 

Here are a few highlights from this year’s writing on a wide range of issues relating to society and culture:

Stay tuned for even more on this topic in our 2023-24 season!

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Justice Everywhere will return in full swing on 4th September with fresh weekly posts by our cooperative of regular authors (published on Mondays), in addition to our Journal of Applied Philosophy series and other special series (published on Thursdays). If you would like to contribute a guest post on a topical justice-based issue (broadly construed), please feel free to get in touch with us at justice.everywhere.blog@gmail.com.

From the Vault: Justice and Protest

While Justice Everywhere takes a short break over the summer, we recall some of the highlights from our 2022-23 season. 

Here are a few highlights from this year’s writing on issues relating to protest:

Stay tuned for even more on this topic in our 2023-24 season!

***

Justice Everywhere will return in full swing on 4th September with fresh weekly posts by our cooperative of regular authors (published on Mondays), in addition to our Journal of Applied Philosophy series and other special series (published on Thursdays). If you would like to contribute a guest post on a topical justice-based issue (broadly construed), please feel free to get in touch with us at justice.everywhere.blog@gmail.com.

From the Vault: Justice in Education and Upbringing

While Justice Everywhere takes a short break over the summer, we recall some of the highlights from our 2022-23 season. 

Here are a few highlights from this year’s writing on issues relating to education, children, and upbringing:

Stay tuned for even more on this topic in our 2023-24 season!

***

Justice Everywhere will return in full swing on 4th September with fresh weekly posts by our cooperative of regular authors (published on Mondays), in addition to our Journal of Applied Philosophy series and other special series (published on Thursdays). If you would like to contribute a guest post on a topical justice-based issue (broadly construed), please feel free to get in touch with us at justice.everywhere.blog@gmail.com.

From the Vault: Justice and Nature

While Justice Everywhere takes a short break over the summer, we recall some of the highlights from our 2022-23 season. 

Here are some highlights from this year’s writing on issues relating to nature, climate, and animals:

Stay tuned for even more on this topic in our 2023-24 season!

***

Justice Everywhere will return in full swing on 4th September with fresh weekly posts by our cooperative of regular authors (published on Mondays), in addition to our Journal of Applied Philosophy series and other special series (published on Thursdays). If you would like to contribute a guest post on a topical justice-based issue (broadly construed), please feel free to get in touch with us at justice.everywhere.blog@gmail.com.

Why We Should ‘Environmentalise’ the Curriculum

A photograph of a group of people sitting on a frosty hillside. One person is standing up and talking to the others.
Outdoor Philosophy Session by the Critique Environmental Working Group: Place-Based Ecological Reflection Exercise in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh. Photo supplied by authors.

This is a guestpost in Justice Everywhere’s Teaching Philosophy series. It is written by Talia Shoval, Grace Garland and Joseph Conrad, of the Environmental Working Group of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Ethics and Critical Thought (Critique).

In this blogpost, we share insights from the exploratory journey we undertook into ‘environmentalising’ the curriculum: a project aimed at bringing the environment to the fore of learning and teaching in higher education. After briefly explaining the guiding rationale, we sketch the contours of the environmentalising project and suggest trajectories for moving forward.

As political theorists working on issues concerning the environment, we start from the working observation that environmental issues tend to be downplayed—or worse, altogether overlooked—in the context of academic learning and teaching, as well as in scholarly research. The environment, when it is mentioned, is often treated as a miscellaneous category, an ‘Other’ that falls outside the remit of and constitutes the backdrop to human affairs. This tendency is exemplified by the lack of environmental materials in syllabi across the social sciences and humanities. Even when environmental issues are present, they are discussed, more often than not, in human-centred ways. Juxtaposed with the evidence of environmental degradation all around, this felt odd, and somewhat disquieting. Our initial intuition told us that the environment should take up much more space in academic curricula and common research, learning, and teaching practices—even in the social sciences, including politics and ethics.

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