The status of machine ethics: a report from the AAAI Symposium

Abstract

This paper is a summary and evaluation of work presented at the AAAI 2005 Fall Symposium on Machine Ethics that brought together participants from the fields of Computer Science and Philosophy to the end of clarifying the nature of this newly emerging field and discussing different approaches one could take towards realizing the ultimate goal of creating an ethical machine.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Moor has, since then, in “The Nature, Importance, and Difficulty of Machine Ethics,” included in the special issue of IEEE Intelligent Systems on “Machine Ethics,” July/August, 2006, pp. 18–21, combined the last two senses into one.

  2. 2.

    This is the category that was dropped in Moor’s paper, perhaps because it is controversial whether machines that are developed by humans can be said to be truly autonomous.

  3. 3.

    The parts of Moor’s analogy have been changed somewhat to clarify what is involved in both cases.

  4. 4.

    Steve Torrance, in his paper “A Robust View of Machine Ethics,” argued that to be a full ethical agent (to have “intrinsic moral status”), the entity in question must be organic. On his view, only organic beings are “genuinely sentient,” and only sentient beings can be “subjects of either moral concern or moral appraisal.”

  5. 5.

    “The Bicentennial Man” was originally commissioned to be part of a volume of stories written by well-known authors to commemorate the United States’ bicentennial. Asimov was simultaneously writing a story about the history of the United States (with its unjust treatment of African-Americans, who had to fight for their rights) and a vehicle for Asimov to present his view of how intelligent robots should be treated and be required to act.

  6. 6.

    If one accepts Cultural Relativism, which we believe is problematic for the reason we have given, then one would simply compute the action that is considered to be correct according to the majority in the society in which the machine will function.

References

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Acknowledgements

We wish to thank the participants of the AAAI Fall 2005 Symposium on Machine Ethics without whose collective efforts this paper would not have been possible (see http://www.machineethics.org for more information). This material is based upon work supported in part by the National Science Foundation grant number IIS-0500133.

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Anderson, M., Anderson, S.L. The status of machine ethics: a report from the AAAI Symposium. Minds & Machines 17, 1–10 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11023-007-9053-7

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Keywords

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Machine ethics