Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 19–28 | Cite as

The value alignment problem: a geometric approach

  • Martin PetersonEmail author
Original Paper


Stuart Russell defines the value alignment problem as follows: How can we build autonomous systems with values that “are aligned with those of the human race”? In this article I outline some distinctions that are useful for understanding the value alignment problem and then propose a solution: I argue that the methods currently applied by computer scientists for embedding moral values in autonomous systems can be improved by representing moral principles as conceptual spaces, i.e. as Voronoi tessellations of morally similar choice situations located in a multidimensional geometric space. The advantage of my preferred geometric approach is that it can be implemented without specifying any utility function ex ante.


Value alignment problem Autonomous systems Conceptual spaces Self-driving cars Stuart Russell IEEE 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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