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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Artificial moral agents: creative, autonomous and social. An approach based on evolutionary computation

Ioan Muntean and Don Howard
Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications
Volume 273: Sociable Robots and the Future of Social Relations


In this paper we propose a model of artificial normative agency that accommodates some social competencies that we expect from artificial moral agents. The artificial moral agent (AMA) discussed here is based on two components: (i) a version of virtue ethics of human agents (VE) adapted to artificial agents, called here “virtual virtue ethics” (VVE); and (ii) an implementation based on evolutionary computation (EC), more concretely genetic algorithms. The reasons to choose VVE and EC are related to two elements that are, we argue, central to any approach to artificial morality: autonomy and creativity. The greater the autonomy an artificial agent has, the more it needs moral standards. In the virtue ethics, each agent builds her own character in time; creativity comes in degrees as the individual becomes morally competent. The model of an autonomous and creative AMA thus implemented is called GAMA= Genetic(-inspired) Autonomous Moral Agent. First, unlike the majority of other implementations of machine ethics, our model is more agent-centered, than action-centered; it emphasizes the developmental and behavioral aspects of the ethical agent. Second, in our model, the AMA does not make decisions exclusively and directly by following rules or by calculating the best outcome of an action. The model incorporates rules as initial data (as the initial population of the genetic algorithms) or as correction factors, but not as the main structure of the algorithm. Third, our computational model is less conventional, or at least it does not fall within the Turing tradition in computation. Genetic algorithms are excellent searching tools that avoid local minima and generate solutions based on previous results. In the GAMA model, only prospective at this stage, the VVE approach to ethics is better implemented by EC. Finally, the GAMA agents can display sociability through competition among the best moral actions and the desire to win the competition. Both VVE and EC are more adequate to a “social approach” to AMA when compared to the standard approaches. The GAMA is more promising a “moral and social artificial agent”.

The article is here.