Moral Ecology Approaches to Machine Ethics

  • Christopher Charles Santos-LangEmail author
Part of the Intelligent Systems, Control and Automation: Science and Engineering book series (ISCA, volume 74)


Wallach and Allen’s seminal book, Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right from Wrong, categorized theories of machine ethics by the types of algorithms each employs (e.g., top-down vs. bottom-up), ultimately concluding that a hybrid approach would be necessary. Humans are hybrids individually: our brains are wired to adapt our evaluative approach to our circumstances. For example, stressors can inhibit the action of oxytocin in the brain, thus forcing a nurse who usually acts from subjective empathy to defer to objective rules instead. In contrast, ecosystem approaches to ethics promote hybridization across, rather than within, individuals; the nurse being empowered to specialize in personalized care because other workers specialize in standardization, and profitability. Various philosophers have argued, or laid the framework to argue, that such specialization can be advantageous to teams and societies. Rather than mass-produce identical machines to emulate the best individual human, perhaps we should build diverse teams of machines to emulate the best human teams.


Public Good Game Ecosystem Approach Institutional Evaluation Moral Diversity Prediction Market 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BellevilleUS

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