We consider the consequences for human beings of attempting to create ethical robots, a goal of the new field of AI that has been called Machine Ethics. We argue that the concerns that have been raised are either unfounded, or can be minimized, and that many benefits for human beings can come from this research. In particular, working on machine ethics will force us to clarify what it means to behave ethically and thus advance the study of Ethical Theory. Also, this research will help to ensure ethically acceptable behavior from artificially intelligent agents, permitting a wider range of applications that benefit human beings. Finally, it is possible that this research could lead to the creation of ideal ethical decision-makers who might be able to teach us all how to behave more ethically. A new field of Artificial Intelligence is emerging that has been called Machine Ethics.
In some strange paradox, today's ethics deals with arguably the world, and societies most important questions, which, nevertheless are accepted to never reach a conclusion. Ethical dilemmas are essentially there to provide a moral dialogue that will thus indirectly influence law and societal values. Although as we begin developing artificial intelligence and impregnating these artificial creations with moral compasses, we will have to make conclusive decisions as to the resolutions of different ethical dilemmas. For example; the trolley problem, in which one is presented with the dilemma, that if a train is coming and 3 people are on the track, one can either let the three die, or push someone off the bridge, thus killing him and saving others. While this is largely mental chess today, aimed at amusing friends at a dinner party, and challenging world class academics alike, it is largely irrelevant as one would never run into an issue such as this, and if they did they would not have time to consider the ethical consequences of different actions.
The newly emerging field of machine ethics (Anderson and Anderson 2006) is concerned with adding an ethical dimension to machines. Unlike computer ethics--which has traditionally focused on ethical issues surrounding humans' use of machines--machine ethics is concerned with ensuring that the behavior of machines toward human users, and perhaps other machines as well, is ethically acceptable. In this article we discuss the importance of machine ethics, the need for machines that represent ethical principles explicitly, and the challenges facing those working on machine ethics. We also give an example of current research in the field that shows that it is possible, at least in a limited domain, for a machine to abstract an ethical principle from examples of correct ethical judgments and use that principle to guide its own behavior. We need to make a distinction between what James Moor has called an "implicit ethical agent" and an "explicit ethical agent" (Moor 2006).
Given a swell of dire warnings about the future of artificial intelligence over the last few years, the field of AI ethics has become a hive of activity. These warnings come from a variety of experts such as Oxford University's Nick Bostrom, but also from more public figures such as Elon Musk and the late Stephen Hawking. The picture they paint is bleak. In response, many have dreamed up sets of principles to guide AI researchers and help them negotiate the maze of human morality and ethics. Now, a paper in Nature Machine Intelligence throws a spanner in the works by claiming that such high principles, while laudable, will not give us the ethical AI society we need.
In the age of AI, how can we live with artificially intelligent machines and robots that may become more intelligent than us? An AI machine can be a computer or smart device; it can also be known as a robot that, with or without appendages, can emulate human life physically. There are still so many unanswered questions. How can we coexist comfortably and conveniently if one day, the machines we have created decide to think for themselves? Do you believe in technological singularity, and is it near?