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The Nature, Importance, and Difficulty of Machine Ethics

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1 Author(s)
Moor, J.H. ; Dept. of Philos., Dartmouth Coll.

The question of whether machine ethics exists or might exist in the future is difficult to answer if we can't agree on what counts as machine ethics. Some might argue that machine ethics obviously exists because humans are machines and humans have ethics. Others could argue that machine ethics obviously doesn't exist because ethics is simply emotional expression and machines can't have emotions. A wide range of positions on machine ethics are possible, and a discussion of the issue could rapidly propel us into deep and unsettled philosophical issues. Perhaps, understandably, few in the scientific arena pursue the issue of machine ethics. As we expand computers' decision-making roles in practical matters, such as computers driving cars, ethical considerations are inevitable. Computer scientists and engineers must examine the possibilities for machine ethics because, knowingly or not, they've already engaged in some form of it. Before we can discuss possible implementations of machine ethics, however, we need to be clear about what we're asserting or denying

Published in:

Intelligent Systems, IEEE  (Volume:21 ,  Issue: 4 )