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Monday, August 31, 2015

The Moral Code

By Nayef Al-Rodhan
Foreign Affairs
Originally published August 12, 2015

Here is an excerpt:

Today, robotics requires a much more nuanced moral code than Asimov’s “three laws.” Robots will be deployed in more complex situations that require spontaneous choices. The inevitable next step, therefore, would seem to be the design of “artificial moral agents,” a term for intelligent systems endowed with moral reasoning that are able to interact with humans as partners. In contrast with software programs, which function as tools, artificial agents have various degrees of autonomy.

However, robot morality is not simply a binary variable. In their seminal work Moral Machines, Yale’s Wendell Wallach and Indiana University’s Colin Allen analyze different gradations of the ethical sensitivity of robots. They distinguish between operational morality and functional morality. Operational morality refers to situations and possible responses that have been entirely anticipated and precoded by the designer of the robot system. This could include the profiling of an enemy combatant by age or physical appearance.

The entire article is here.
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