Consequentialism & Machine Ethics: Towards a Foundational Machine Ethic to Ensure the Right Action of Artificial Moral Agents

Montreal AI Ethics Institute (2020)
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In this paper, I argue that Consequentialism represents a kind of ethical theory that is the most plausible to serve as a basis for a machine ethic. First, I outline the concept of an artificial moral agent and the essential properties of Consequentialism. Then, I present a scenario involving autonomous vehicles to illustrate how the features of Consequentialism inform agent action. Thirdly, an alternative Deontological approach will be evaluated and the problem of moral conflict discussed. Finally, two bottom-up approaches to the development of machine ethics are presented and briefly challenged.

Author's Profile

Josiah Della Foresta
McGill University


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