Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right From Wrong

New York, US: Oxford University Press (2008)
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Abstract

Computers are already approving financial transactions, controlling electrical supplies, and driving trains. Soon, service robots will be taking care of the elderly in their homes, and military robots will have their own targeting and firing protocols. Colin Allen and Wendell Wallach argue that as robots take on more and more responsibility, they must be programmed with moral decision-making abilities, for our own safety. Taking a fast paced tour through the latest thinking about philosophical ethics and artificial intelligence, the authors argue that even if full moral agency for machines is a long way off, it is already necessary to start building a kind of functional morality, in which artificial moral agents have some basic ethical sensitivity. But the standard ethical theories don't seem adequate, and more socially engaged and engaging robots will be needed. As the authors show, the quest to build machines that are capable of telling right from wrong has begun. Moral Machines is the first book to examine the challenge of building artificial moral agents, probing deeply into the nature of human decision making and ethics.

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Chapters

DOES HUMANITY WANT COMPUTERS MAKING MORAL DECISIONS?

The chapter begins with an overview of philosophy of technology to provide a context for the specific concerns raised by the prospect of artificial moral agents. Some concerns, such as whether artificial moral agents will lead humans to abrogate responsibility to machines, seem particularl... see more

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Author Profiles

Colin Allen
University of Pittsburgh

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