Artificial intelligence and responsibility

AI and Society:1-9 (forthcoming)
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Abstract

In the debate on whether to ban LAWS, moral arguments are mainly used. One of these arguments, proposed by Sparrow, is that the use of LAWS goes hand in hand with the responsibility gap. Together with the premise that the ability to hold someone responsible is a necessary condition for the admissibility of an act, Sparrow believes that this leads to the conclusion that LAWS should be prohibited. In this article, it will be shown that Sparrow’s argumentation for both premises is not convincing. If one interprets the thesis that responsibility is necessary in a descriptive sense, this assertion clashes with military theory and practice. And even if you focus on the normative interpretation, that claim does not stand. The second premise for Sparrow’s conclusion, namely that you cannot hold anyone responsible for LAWS’ deeds, is based on the idea that control is a necessary condition for responsibility. It will be shown that this idea too is not correct, which means that Sparrow’s control argument does not do the work it should do. From this, we can conclude that Sparrow’s justification for his claim that LAWS should be banned is insufficient, and neither can we conclude that the thesis of a responsibility gap has in any case been undermined. However, it will also be argued that someone may be responsible for the actions of LAWS, or that it cannot be excluded that one can be held responsible.

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