Agency Laundering and Information Technologies

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (4):1017-1041 (2019)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
When agents insert technological systems into their decision-making processes, they can obscure moral responsibility for the results. This can give rise to a distinct moral wrong, which we call “agency laundering.” At root, agency laundering involves obfuscating one’s moral responsibility by enlisting a technology or process to take some action and letting it forestall others from demanding an account for bad outcomes that result. We argue that the concept of agency laundering helps in understanding important moral problems in a number of recent cases involving automated, or algorithmic, decision-systems. We apply our conception of agency laundering to a series of examples, including Facebook’s automated advertising suggestions, Uber’s driver interfaces, algorithmic evaluation of K-12 teachers, and risk assessment in criminal sentencing. We distinguish agency laundering from several other critiques of information technology, including the so-called “responsibility gap,” “bias laundering,” and masking.
ISBN(s)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
RUBALA-2
Upload history
Archival date: 2019-10-24
View other versions
Added to PP index
2019-10-24

Total views
200 ( #26,712 of 58,204 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
43 ( #17,899 of 58,204 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.