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Expertise, Ethos, and Ethics: The Prophetic Rhetoric of Nick Bostrom and Elon Musk in the Artificial Intelligence Debate

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abstract
When publics need to make decisions about technical matters, they frequently refer to experts to assist by providing technical knowledge that is translated for the lay audience. Many of these experts rely on various techniques to build ethos and demonstrate different types of expertise, while also utilizing different argument strategies. One of these strategies is the use of prophetic rhetoric. The artificial intelligence (AI) debate is one where technical experts work to translate information about AI and the future possibilities of the technology, using prophetic rhetoric as a mode of appeal. The AI debate is also unique in its mixture of technical and ethical points within the debate. Nicholas Bostrom, a more traditional expert, relies heavily on demonstrating his technical knowledge first and then weaving in ethical components and his main argument. However, his use of personal and public sphere strategies is not very effective to connect with his lay audience. Elon Musk, an entrepreneur, celebrity, and self-proclaimed nerd, is a less traditional expert who relies heavily on building ethos and creating a cult following of fans. Musk uses this ethos to make enthymematic arguments, and stand in for expertise that he does not have. However, this celebrity ethos works effectively with his audience, and he does not need to rely heavily on technical knowledge like traditional experts. Ultimately, this new technique is more effective in the AI debate.
subject
Argumentation
Artificial Intelligence
Enthymeme
Ethos
Expertise
contributor
Kirby, Caitlin R (author)
Von Burg, Ron L (committee chair)
Gill, Rebecca E (committee member)
Walsh, Lynda (committee member)
date
2019-05-24T08:35:48Z (accessioned)
2020-05-23T08:30:20Z (available)
2019 (issued)
degree
Communication (discipline)
embargo
2020-05-23 (terms)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/93971 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
Expertise, Ethos, and Ethics: The Prophetic Rhetoric of Nick Bostrom and Elon Musk in the Artificial Intelligence Debate
type
Thesis

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