Theological Foundations for Moral Artificial Intelligence

Journal of Moral Theology 11 (Special Issue 1):182-211 (2022)
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The expanding social role and continued development of artificial intelligence (AI) needs theological investigation of its anthropological and moral potential. A pragmatic theological anthropology adapted for AI can characterize moral AI as experiencing its natural, social, and moral world through interpretations of its external reality as well as its self-reckoning. Systems theory can further structure insights into an AI social self that conceptualizes itself within Ignacio Ellacuria’s historical reality and its moral norms through Thomistic ideogenesis. This enables a conceptualization process capable of carrying moral weight and grounded in reality; structures the experience of an AI emergent self into multiple levels of interpretation; and drives a multi-level systems architecture for moral AI. Modeling AI’s interpretive experience and self-reckoning as a causal, sociotechnical, and moral actor can help moral AI identify conflicts between its normative values and develop the practical wisdom (phronesis) needed to apply its general moral models.

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