Decolonizing AI Ethics: Relational Autonomy as a Means to Counter AI Harms

Topoi 42 (3):867-880 (2023)
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Abstract

Many popular artificial intelligence (AI) ethics frameworks center the principle of autonomy as necessary in order to mitigate the harms that might result from the use of AI within society. These harms often disproportionately affect the most marginalized within society. In this paper, we argue that the principle of autonomy, as currently formalized in AI ethics, is itself flawed, as it expresses only a mainstream mainly liberal notion of autonomy as rational self-determination, derived from Western traditional philosophy. In particular, we claim that the adherence to such principle, as currently formalized, does not only fail to address many ways in which people’s autonomy can be violated, but also to grasp a broader range of AI-empowered harms profoundly tied to the legacy of colonization, and which particularly affect the already marginalized and most vulnerable on a global scale. To counter such a phenomenon, we advocate for the need of a relational turn in AI ethics, starting from a relational rethinking of the AI ethics principle of autonomy that we propose by drawing on theories on relational autonomy developed both in moral philosophy and Ubuntu ethics.

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References found in this work

Thinking, Fast and Slow.Daniel Kahneman - 2011 - New York: New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
The sources of normativity.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Onora O'Neill.

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