Science and Engineering Ethics 24 (4):1201-1219 (2018)

Authors
Sven Nyholm
Utrecht University
Abstract
Many ethicists writing about automated systems attribute agency to these systems. Not only that; they seemingly attribute an autonomous or independent form of agency to these machines. This leads some ethicists to worry about responsibility-gaps and retribution-gaps in cases where automated systems harm or kill human beings. In this paper, I consider what sorts of agency it makes sense to attribute to most current forms of automated systems, in particular automated cars and military robots. I argue that whereas it indeed makes sense to attribute different forms of fairly sophisticated agency to these machines, we ought not to regard them as acting on their own, independently of any human beings. Rather, the right way to understand the agency exercised by these machines is in terms of human–robot collaborations, where the humans involved initiate, supervise, and manage the agency of their robotic collaborators. This means, I argue, that there is much less room for justified worries about responsibility-gaps and retribution-gaps than many ethicists think.
Keywords Agency  Automation  Human-robot collaboration  Self-driving cars  Military robots  Responsibility-gaps
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DOI 10.1007/s11948-017-9943-x
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References found in this work BETA

Moral Luck.B. A. O. Williams & T. Nagel - 1976 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes 50:115-151.
Moral Luck.B. A. O. Williams & T. Nagel - 1976 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 50:115 - 151.

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Citations of this work BETA

Ethics of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.Vincent C. Müller - 2020 - In Edward Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Palo Alto, Cal.: CSLI, Stanford University. pp. 1-70.
Experimental Philosophy of Technology.Steven R. Kraaijeveld - 2021 - Philosophy and Technology 34:993-1012.

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