Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 505–528 | Cite as

Artificial Intelligence and the ‘Good Society’: the US, EU, and UK approach

  • Corinne CathEmail author
  • Sandra Wachter
  • Brent Mittelstadt
  • Mariarosaria Taddeo
  • Luciano Floridi
Original Paper


In October 2016, the White House, the European Parliament, and the UK House of Commons each issued a report outlining their visions on how to prepare society for the widespread use of artificial intelligence (AI). In this article, we provide a comparative assessment of these three reports in order to facilitate the design of policies favourable to the development of a ‘good AI society’. To do so, we examine how each report addresses the following three topics: (a) the development of a ‘good AI society’; (b) the role and responsibility of the government, the private sector, and the research community (including academia) in pursuing such a development; and (c) where the recommendations to support such a development may be in need of improvement. Our analysis concludes that the reports address adequately various ethical, social, and economic topics, but come short of providing an overarching political vision and long-term strategy for the development of a ‘good AI society’. In order to contribute to fill this gap, in the conclusion we suggest a two-pronged approach.


Algorithms Artificial intelligence Data ethics Good society Human dignity 



We discussed multiple versions of this article on various conferences and mailing lists. Specifically, the first author discussed some of the ideas included in this article at the IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in the Design of Autonomous Systems conferences in Brussels. We are deeply indebted for the feedback we received from these various communities and audiences. In particular, we wish to thank the three anonymous reviewers whose comments greatly improved the final version. We also want to thank John Havens, Greg Adamson and Inez De Beaufort for their insightful comments and for the time they put into discussing the ideas presented in this article.


  1. Annany, M., & Crawford, K. (2016). Seeing without knowing: Limitations of the transparency ideal and its application to algorithmic accountability. New Media and Society, 1–17.
  2. Calo, R. (2014). The case for a federal robotics commission|Brookings Institution. Retrieved from
  3. Crawford, K. (2016). Artificial intelligence’s white guy problem. Retrieved from
  4. Crawford, K., & Calo, R. (2016). There is a blind spot in AI research. Nature News, 538(7625), 311. doi: 10.1038/538311a.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. DeepMind. (2016). DeepMind. November 15.
  6. European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs. (2016). Civil law rules on robotics (2015/2103 (INL)). Brussels, Belgium: European Parliament. Retrieved from
  7. European Union. (2016). European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679. Brussels, Belgium. Retrieved from
  8. Executive Office of the President. (2016). Artificial intelligence, automation and the economy. Washington, DC, USA. Retrieved from
  9. Executive Office of the President National Science and Technology Council Committee on Technology. (2016). Preparing for the future of artificial intelligence. Washington, DC, USA. Retrieved from
  10. Felten, E. W. (2016). Preparing for the future of artificial intelligence. White House Website Blog. Retrieved from
  11. Felten, E. W., & Lyons, T. (2016). Public input and next steps on the future of artificial intelligence. Medium. Retrieved from
  12. Finley, K. (2016). Obama wants to help the government to develop AI. Retrieved from
  13. Fleury, M. (2015). How artificial intelligence is transforming the financial industry. Retrieved from
  14. Floridi, L. (2010). Ethics after the information revolution. In L. Floridi (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of information and computer ethics (pp. 3–19). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from
  15. Floridi, L. (2013). Infraethics. Philosphers’ Magazine, 60(1), 26–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Floridi, L. (2014). The fourth revolution. How the infosphere is reshaping human reality. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Floridi, L. (2016a). Mature information societies—A matter of expectations. Philosophy and Technology, 29(1), 1–4. doi: 10.1007/s13347-016-0214-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Floridi, L. (2016b). On human dignity as a foundation for the right to privacy. Philosophy and Technology, 29(4), 307–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Floridi, L., & Taddeo, M. (2016). What is data ethics? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 374(2083), 1–4. doi: 10.1098/rsta.2016.0360.Google Scholar
  20. Furlow, B. (2016). IBM Watson collaboration aims to improve oncology decision support tools. Retrieved from
  21. Hart, A. (1961). The concept of law. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  22. House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. (2016a). Robotics and artificial intelligence (No. Fifth Report of Session 2016-17). London, UK. Retrieved from
  23. House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. (2016b). The Big Data dilemma: Government response to the Committee’s fourth report of session 201516 contents.
  24. Ingold, D., & Soper, S. (2016). Amazon doesn’t consider the race of its customers. Should It? Retrieved from
  25. Kroll, J. A., Huey, J., Barocas, S., Felten, E. W., Reidenberg, J. R., Robinson, D. G., & Yu, H. (2017). Accountable algorithms. University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 165, 1. Retrieved from
  26. Leroux, C., & Labruto, R. (2013). A green paper on legal issues in robotics. ResearchGate. Retrieved from
  27. Libicki, M. C. (2009). Cyberdeterrence and cyberwar. The RAND Corporation. Retrieved from
  28. Mittelstadt, B. D., Allo, P., Taddeo, M., Wachter, S., & Floridi, L. (2016). The ethics of algorithms: Mapping the debate. Big Data and Society. doi: 10.1177/2053951716679679.Google Scholar
  29. National Science and Technology Council Networking and Information Technology. Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Subcommittee. (2016). The national artificial intelligence research and development strategic plan (Washington DC, USA). Retrieved from
  30. Pagallo, U. (2016a). Three lessons learned for intelligent transport systems that Abide by the law. In Jusletter IT 24.Google Scholar
  31. Pagallo, U. (2016b). Even angels need the rules: AI, roboethics, and the law. ECAI, 258, 209–215.Google Scholar
  32. Palmerini, E., Bertolini, A., Battaglia, F., Koops, B.-J., Carnevale, A., & Salvini, P. (2016). RoboLaw: Towards a European framework for robotics regulation. Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 86, 78–85. doi: 10.1016/j.robot.2016.08.026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Partnership on AI. (2016). Retrieved from
  34. Quackenbush, S. L. (2011). Deterrence theory: Where do we stand? Review of International Studies, 37(2), 741–762.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Request for Information on Artificial Intelligence. (2016). Science and technology policy office. Retrieved from
  36. Schafer, B. (2016). Closing Pandora’s box? (pp. 55–67). Law and Technology: The EU Proposal on the Regulation of Robots. Pandora’s Box.Google Scholar
  37. Scherer, M. U. (2016). Regulating artificial intelligence systems: Risks, challenges, competencies, and strategies. Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, 29(2), 372.
  38. Taddeo, M. (2016a). Just information warfare. Topoi, 35(1), 213–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Taddeo, M. (2016b). On the risks of relying on analogies to understand cyber conflicts. Minds and Machines, 26(4), 317–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. The Alan Turing Institute. (2016). Accessed September 1.
  41. Tutt, A. (2016). An FDA for algorithms. Administrative Law Review, 67, 18. Available at SSRN:
  42. UK Government Office for Science. (2016). Artificial intelligence: An overview for policy-makers. Retrieved from
  43. United States Standards Strategy Committee. (2015). United States Standards Strategy. Retrieved from
  44. Wachter, S., Mittelstadt, B. D., & Floridi, L. (Forthcoming). Why a right to explanation of automated decision-making does not exist in the general data protection regulation. Retrieved from Available at SSRN:

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Corinne Cath
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Sandra Wachter
    • 1
    • 2
  • Brent Mittelstadt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mariarosaria Taddeo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Luciano Floridi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Oxford Internet InstituteUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.The Alan Turing InstituteLondonUK

Personalised recommendations