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Friday, June 7, 2024

Large Language Models as Moral Experts? GPT-4o Outperforms Expert Ethicist in Providing Moral Guidance

Dillion, D., Mondal, D., Tandon, N.,
& Gray, K. (2024, May 29).


AI has demonstrated expertise across various fields, but its potential as a moral expert remains unclear. Recent work suggests that Large Language Models (LLMs) can reflect moral judgments with high accuracy. But as LLMs are increasingly used in complex decision-making roles, true moral expertise requires not just aligned judgments but also clear and trustworthy moral reasoning. Here, we advance work on the Moral Turing Test and find that advice from GPT-4o is rated as more moral, trustworthy, thoughtful, and correct than that of the popular The New York Times advice column, The Ethicist. GPT models outperformed both a representative sample of Americans and a renowned ethicist in providing moral explanations and advice, suggesting that LLMs have, in some respects, achieved a level of moral expertise. The present work highlights the importance of carefully programming ethical guidelines in LLMs, considering their potential to sway users' moral reasoning. More promisingly, it suggests that LLMs could complement human expertise in moral guidance and decision-making.

Here are my thoughts:

This research on GPT-4o's moral reasoning is fascinating, but caution is warranted. While exceeding human performance in explanations and perceived trustworthiness is impressive, true moral expertise goes beyond these initial results.

Here's why:

First, there are nuances to all moral dilemmas. Real-world dilemmas often lack clear-cut answers. Can GPT-4o navigate the gray areas and complexities of human experience?

Next, everyone has a rich experience, values, perspectives, and biases.  What ethical framework guides GPT-4o's decisions? Transparency in its programming is crucial.

Finally, the consequences of AI-driven moral advice can be far-reaching. Careful evaluation of potential biases and unintended outcomes is essential.  There is no objective algorithm.  There is no objective morality.  All moral decisions, no matter how well-reasoned, have pluses and minuses.  Therefore, AI can be used as a starting point for decision-making and planning.