Learning to Live with Strange Error: Beyond Trustworthiness in Artificial Intelligence Ethics

Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics:1-13 (forthcoming)
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Position papers on artificial intelligence (AI) ethics are often framed as attempts to work out technical and regulatory strategies for attaining what is commonly called trustworthy AI. In such papers, the technical and regulatory strategies are frequently analyzed in detail, but the concept of trustworthy AI is not. As a result, it remains unclear. This paper lays out a variety of possible interpretations of the concept and concludes that none of them is appropriate. The central problem is that, by framing the ethics of AI in terms of trustworthiness, we reinforce unjustified anthropocentric assumptions that stand in the way of clear analysis. Furthermore, even if we insist on a purely epistemic interpretation of the concept, according to which trustworthiness just means measurable reliability, it turns out that the analysis will, nevertheless, suffer from a subtle form of anthropocentrism. The paper goes on to develop the concept of strange error, which serves both to sharpen the initial diagnosis of the inadequacy of trustworthy AI and to articulate the novel epistemological situation created by the use of AI. The paper concludes with a discussion of how strange error puts pressure on standard practices of assessing moral culpability, particularly in the context of medicine.



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Author Profiles

Bert Heinrichs
Universität Bonn
Charles Rathkopf
Jülich Research Center

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