The Open Philanthropy Project spoke with Professor Sloman of the University of Birmingham as part of its investigation into which types of beings should be of moral concern, and thus a potential target for the Open Philanthropy Project’s grantmaking. This conversation focused on one particular factor plausibly relevant to whether a being should be of moral concern or not — namely, whether that being is phenomenally conscious, and what the character of its conscious experience is. Conversation focused on identifying potentially useful inputs for a “model combination / cluster thinking” method to produce rough predictions about which entities are conscious, and relevant work being done in related fields (e.g. philosophy, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence).
Professor Sloman asked to be referred to as “Aaron” in the remainder of this document.