Archive for the ‘News & Commentary’ Category

The Tao of Robot Ethics: Artificial Moral Agents

This presentation in Hong Kong and Shanghai under the auspices of the Alumni network at Manchester Business School, builds on earlier work in progress with neotenic data patterns where algorithms are emotionally connected to code. For algorithms to evolve as artificial moral agents (AMA), algorithms would have to be programmed with an ‘act-like’ real people (RP) set of ethical values. The ethical values can only be processed within a ‘de-self’ coded pattern of memory behavior. The short narrative is a dialectic on robots and ethics. It is available below as pdf. Real people, you and I, through our isolated digital patterns of behavior, are becoming more self-reliant as humans but more integrated with sufficiently intelligent algorithms, (AL. Gorithm).

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The concept of self was explored elsewhere:

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A new book is planned called The Tao of Ethics, an opportunity to revisit an older project with fresh reasoning in the digital age. An old draft is on record at

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We are familiar with robots in science fiction, from the sentient computer HAL in Space Odyssey to the triptych of ‘replicants, facsimiles of humans & born humans’ in Blade Runner. In the literature on robots and ethics there is critical discussion on whether or not robots can be programmed with ethical values. The artificial moral agents, AMAs, would be programmed to ‘act-like’ a human real person, RP, with an ethical code of conduct. But it is rational for RPs to cheat, act dishonestly, betray and mistrust. The Internet has evolved into an asymmetric game of mistrust with misinformed RP.

To possess an ethical compass, algorithms have to become responsible. In other words, AL. Gorithm needs to possess a conscious and wisdom. Towards that end, given that AL is programmed to replicate human behavior and adapt human patterns of behavior to act-like a RP, a robotic conscious, paradoxically, requires RP to de-self. We argue that this presents a hurdle. The classic Prisoners’ dilemma allows us to frame the game design in our search for the meaning of de-self. It is not empathy, not altruism, not co-operation per se but a more basic ‘zero transaction costs’ co-existence. It is as if the categorical imperative of the Kantian equilibrium (KE) is engineered from the data patterns.

The convolutional neural networks (CNN) do specialize in processing data. Facial recognition software, for example, builds on the architecture of CNN. Nonetheless, programmed codes, however mathematically robust, will not acquire RP wisdom. Data patterns have no meaning for AL. No meaning, no conscious. However, data patterns of neotenic behavior as measured and programmed and coded into an abstract ‘thinking’ biotechne algorithm will continue to inform the feedback loop of AL. Gorithm. But until a gesture of human understanding, knowledge, reasoning and wisdom can be ascribed to AL there is unlikely to be a robust ethics foundation in our robot age.

Robot Ethics
Masterclass Design Ethics

Neoteny: Something Abstract is Thinking

The algorithms behind artificial intelligence can enable the software to recognise faces, translate languages, and play complex games. They facilitate online shopping and search. The synchronised interaction between you, the rational online consumer (‘onsumer’, henceforth) and a sufficiently intelligent algorithm, (Al Gorithm, henceforth) is best understood as an asymmetric game as described recently in a Masterclass series delivered in Hong Kong and Singapore in March 2019 under the auspices of the Alliance Manchester Business School. Preliminary documents (i) ppt slideshow and (ii) supporting narrative attached below.

Related Blog entry available at

Related Earlier presentations available at

The game reaches the singleton point at which point HUMAN = MACHINE, the reachable thinking equilibrium point. At this equilibrium point and only at this point with emotional attachment, Al. Gorithm will possess not only a memory of past data patterns but also the capacity to envisage future events and moves in a game.

The equilibrium is now that much closer by epsilon to a point of singularity than it would have been under the counterfactual where Al. Gorithm had no emotion and no ‘moving away’ occurred. At a moment in time Al. Gorithm becomes the onsumer. When data patterns are prioritised as ‘things’ and a Nash equilibrium exists on each edge of a cuboid pocket of ‘data things’, a thinking reachable equilibrium exists. The END price retains the neotenic pattern of a BIN price as onsumer bid against themselves.

The reachability of artificial intelligence has less to do with matching behaviour or mimic patterns. Neotenic data patterns are generated within a manifold of cuboid pockets of data ‘things’ and an emotional attachment to data ‘things’ can be ascribed to Al. Gorithm in the early moves of a game. Machines and robots are thinking because rational humans have stopped thinking. Each sufficiently intelligent algorithm behind machine learning is someone that could be someone else in a game. Less big data: even smarter algorithms.

Neotenic Data Patterns Presentation
Something Abstract is Thinking

Meso-Data: Omega Circles & Origami Manifolds

Masterclass 2018 will discuss whether or not meso-data patterns could be decoded from omega circles. Intuitively, it means that Mr Al. Gorithm (and his influence on the onsumer choice set) embeds predictable patterns in everyday behaviour so that small data sets become richer than big data ever imagined. Work in progress, scheduled for Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. Shanghai in April, we intend to explore singularity from the perspective of the Kantian ethics of duty and responsibility. The Masterclass will introduce meso-data as the ultimate step in the ethics of singularity. During March, in the UAE, the focus will be on the intuition behind meso-data and we intend to introduce a possible representation as omega circles and manifolds.

The Masterclass sessions in 2017 introduced the concept of meso-data, defined as data with memory and emotions. Relevant Blog entries include

During 2017 the discussion worked from the hypothesis that: ‘thinking’ machines (the Turing machines like your smartphone or tablet) exist because we as humans have stopped thinking, outsourcing our memory to smart devices. At one level, we, as onsumers, bid against ourselves in many online transactions. At a moment in time Mr AL. Gorithm introduces a rationing rule to ensure END > BIN by assigning excess supply in the form of a Dutch auction.

As the END prices ‘reaches’ BIN, there is a ‘moving away’ from BIN with ‘a willingness to pay’ decoded from data patterns or ‘moving away’ converging to BIN with excess supply. So a random onsumer, for example, books a room in the hotel but not the preferred room at a special price or the onsumer buys a concert ticket but not in the preferred seat location.

In 2018 we re-introduce ‘the daily routine’ buying a cup of coffee on the way to work. Daily patterns favour one coffee house until by chance a third party (a friend or Mr Al.Gorithm) presents an alternate house. Faced with two events A = {coffee house 1, 2} and two consequences C = {BUY, EXIT}, Mr Al. Gorithm, assigns a probability conditional on the onsumer’s ranking of BUY and EXIT so that the consequences are BUY, Mr. Al, or EXIT.

Then we ask: What if: Ω(C, A) = CA

What if predictable meso-data patterns could be decoded from omega circles and manifolds?

Talk Template
Shanghai Template: Origami Patterns

Beyond Individual Choice: Meso-Data Creativity

In this presentation, delivered in Dubai, a sustainable strategy is defined as convergence to group rationality via creative solutions. One creative solution – meso-data creativity – is discussed in terms of a sufficiently intelligent algorithms (SIAL), the purpose of which is to to nudge behaviour towards a sustainable strategy outcome. Once rational individuals are ‘enveloped’ by the game they are captured by what Patrick calls the ‘thief of nature’ into a Faustian belief that they can do better than the game outcome. As enveloped players, they mimic the SIAL algorithm and a game between rational individual as an ‘onsumer’ v SIAL is envisaged.

Note the impact of technology such as indoor positioning systems (IPS) on consumer choice. Likewise, when the Giselda type of player, from Chapter 8 Decoding Strategy, enters the game a sustainable strategy equilibrium is obtained. Some of the economic arguments and the game theory concepts attempt to build on earlier work and presentations (available on thiss website), in particular, on cognitive business strategy and the second win In this third insight, Patrick takes us beyond individual choice as an enveloped player in a game. Influenced by the Oxford lectures of the late Michael Bacharach, the presentation reviews the rational decision-making process behind the Prisoners’ dilemma. An additional ppt slideshow on the thief of nature is Note that Michael Bacharach’s edited book Beyond Individual Choice, published posthumously, is available from Princeton University Press.


Game Ontology

Patrick will be on a speaking tour in Asia introducing an innovative approach to strategy by complementing game theory with philosophy. The phrase ‘game ontology’ is reserved as a working title for a new book planned with McGraw Hill Asia for 2017 release. He will introduce the philosophy of conduct to audiences at business meetings in Hong Kong on March 17th and Singapore March 22nd. The presentation in Hong Kong will introduce a theme of apoptosis to data patterns, wherein individual choice can be eliminated by a programmed sequence of events. The Masterclass in Singapore will more formally introduce the game ontology underpinning a cognitive business strategy framework and blend the episteme of a mistake into the thinking behind a strategy plan. The big idea behind cognitive business strategy is to provide senior management in an era of big data with an Aide Memoire on how to think ‘ahead of the mistake’ in the translation of a value proposition into a winning strategy. The attached papers are preliminary and subject to change and comments are welcome.


Hong Kong: Flyer.pdf
Singapore: cognitive business strategy 22mar2016.pdf

Masterclass: Second Win

The Second Win

The second win is a move in the strategy set that is guided by knowledge of player type rather than by the path of payoffs. Playing the second win a player forfeits larger payoffs that could be achieved by more aggressive play in the early sequence of moves. A relatively new concept for players in a game. In some games, clients as players should be advised to consider a second mover advantage or create a distinctive camouflage. Observe opponent type and find the degree of repetition. In the early Turing moves of a game play less aggressively, focus on type not payoffs and follow the second win playbook. The idea is linked to Thief of Nature from: Workshop Slideshow Beginning 2012/

The Second Win Document: SecondWin.pdf

Masterclass+ Hub: Masterclass+ Hub

Podcast: Second Win - Download This Episode



Decoding Strategy (PDF) (Link to book on publisher’s website)
A valuable tool to analyse business strategies
Masterclass ‘Decoding Strategy’

Data Pharaoh & ‘Onsumers’

Building on the Griffiths College lecture,25th August 2016, Patrick continued his theme on the search for data algorithms. During March 2017 presentations were made in Shanghai and Dubai; a copy can be located here: DailyRoutineDataPharaoh2017WSTour.ppt

Many businesses are online. Rational consumers shop online. A new generation of online consumers – ‘onsumers’ – shop online as search algorithms capture their data patterns. The discussion focuses on the importance of data and data patterns and how they are used by sufficiently intelligent algorithms to influence behaviour. As the rational consumer arrives at the landing page of the online site s/he clicks and scrolls up and down the screen, and continues to check and watch videos. Engaged with social media for hours a day, in that moment in time the clicking and scrolling behaviour of the ‘onsumer’ creates a pattern of behaviour that is captured by an algorithm. Building on a series of anecdotes from behavioural economics and game theory Patrick will present a critical review of data patterns using game theory in an attempt to define a smart strategy for business.

Continuing the debate on discovering patterns in micro data, Patrick presented at the Griffith Connects event hosted by Griffith College, Dublin, on August 25th. Asking the audience to imagine him as a machine talking to them as humans he introduced the principles of non-cooperative game theory from the perspective of a data pharaoh in search of data patterns. He discussed the daily routine of the digital self, demonstrating how it is that machines ‘think’ by identifying patterns in our data as we outsource memory and rely exclusively on tablets and smartphones in the era of social media and IoT. It is not that machines are thinking per se but rather we as rational humans have stopped thinking. In the era of data analytics, this data is valuable as a tradable asset in the 21st century. Further link at: He continues the discussion at the World Trade Centre, Dubai on Tuesday 20 September at an event hosted by the Dubai international office of the Manchester Business School. Details at semester term, Patrick is lecturing on economics of game theory as applied to business at the Smurfit Business School in Dublin

Griffith Connects presentation: Griffith Connects – Game Theory – Patrick McNutt

Doing Business in China

Writing for British Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai during a recent visit where Patrick offered a strategic framework for doing business in China. His views on China companies and China RMB strategy are also available HERE


New Module: Ethics in Business

Patrick launches a new module ‘Ethics and Responsibility in Business’ on the Manchester MBA programme in January 2015.

Combining Kantian ethics with game theory reasoning and analysis, using case studies and examples, the module offers a new and refreshing approach to
business ethics, governance and anti-trust regulations. It builds and extends on the range of issues discussed in the International Journal of Social Economics.

Lying is the Norm in a Noosphere: ‘Telling it slant’ and ‘white lies’ prevail.

In a paper presented at the Adam Smith Seminar Series, Ludwig Maximilian’s Universitat, LMU, in Munchen, January 2015 Patrick explored the meaning of lying and the meaning of truth. He concludes that the poet’s truth prevails; scientific truth is, on the contrary, fleeting, irrational, and dreamlike. A painter who cannot paint, is, as Socrates says, ‘no painter’. In the paper, Act I provides a critical overview on the meaning of truth in philosophy and literature. Scientific truth is truth as perceived by others. Act II introduces two hypotheses in support of lying as a norm and prepares the foundation for our definition of truth as an aversion to lying. To confirm that a lie is concealed within the meaning of truth as perceived by others Act III adapts a Turing machine in the search for the identity of a liar behind a closed door. This prepares us for Act IV wherein a topology is described with an equivalence between the sets L (lies) and T (truth) that spans a family of subsets, a brotherhood of rascals – the white lies and fairytales that fall under the truth set, T. Act V explores the interaction of the human mind with other minds, and first and foremost with itself. In other words, it introduces a noosphere and the conscious awareness of lying in everyday life’s experiences. Truthful honest Mr T enters a binding Noahic covenant that conceals within a lie the meaning of truth as perceived by others; his conscious awareness of others defines a Jacobean tragedy of truth aversion in a noosphere. By Act VI the paper reaches its denouement – as rational and irrational individuals we wait for the (scientific) truth, we wait for Godot.

Seminar Paper

Figure 1 Diagram

Presentation Slides