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A Prima Facie Duty Approach to Machine Ethics and Its Application to Elder Care

AAAI Conferences

Having discovered a decision principle for a well-known prima facie duty theory in biomedical ethics to resolve particular cases of a common type of ethical dilemma, we developed three applications: a medical ethics advisor system, a medication reminder system and an instantiation of this system in a Nao robot. We are now developing a general, automated method for generating from scratch the ethics needed for a machine to function in a particular domain, without making the assumptions used in our prototype systems.


Developing a General, Interactive Approach to Codifying Ethical Principles

AAAI Conferences

Building on our previous achievements in machine ethics (Anderson et al. 2006a-b, 2007, 2008), we are developing and implementing a general interactive approach to analyzing ethical dilemmas with the goal to apply it toward the end of codifying the ethical principles that will help resolve ethical dilemmas that intelligent systems will encounter in their interactions with human beings. Making a minimal epistemological commitment that there is at least one ethical duty and at least two possible actions that could be performed, the general system will: 1) incrementally construct, through an interactive exchange with experts in ethics, a representation scheme needed to handle the dilemmas with which it is presented, and 2) discover principles implicit in the judgments of these ethicists in particular cases that lead to their resolution. The system will commit only to the assumption that any ethically relevant features of a dilemma can be represented as the degree of satisfaction or violation of one or more duties that an agent must take into account to determine which of the actions that are possible in that dilemma is ethically preferable.


Machine Ethics: Creating an Ethical Intelligent Agent

AI Magazine

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.


An Approach to Computing Ethics

AITopics Original Links

To make ethics computable, we've adopted an approach to ethics that involves considering multiple prima facie duties in deciding how one should act in an ethical dilemma. We believe this approach is more likely to capture the complexities of ethical decision making than a single, absolute-duty ethical theory. However, it requires a decision procedure for determining the ethically correct action when the duties give conflicting advice. To solve this problem, we employ inductive-logic programming to enable a machine to abstract information from ethical experts' intuitions about particular ethical dilemmas, to create a decision principle. We've tested our method in the MedEthEx proof-of-concept system, using a type of ethical dilemma that involves 18 possible combinations of three prima facie duties.


2052

AI Magazine

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).