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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.


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.


Toward Ensuring Ethical Behavior from Autonomous Systems: A Case-Supported Principle-Based Paradigm

AAAI Conferences

A paradigm of case-supported principle-based behavior (CPB) is proposed to help ensure ethical behavior of autonomous machines. We argue that ethically significant behavior of autonomous systems should be guided by explicit ethical principles determined through a consensus of ethicists. Such a consensus is likely to emerge in many areas in which autonomous systems are apt to be deployed and for the actions they are liable to undertake, as we are more likely to agree on how machines ought to treat us than on how human beings ought to treat one another. Given such a consensus, particular cases of ethical dilemmas where ethicists agree on the ethically relevant features and the right course of action can be used to help discover principles needed for ethical guidance of the behavior of autonomous systems. Such principles help ensure the ethical behavior of complex and dynamic systems and further serve as a basis for justification of their actions as well as a control abstraction for managing unanticipated behavior. The requirements, methods, implementation, and evaluation components of the CPB paradigm are detailed.


MedEthEx: A Prototype Medical Ethics Advisor

AAAI Conferences

As part of a larger Machine Ethics Project, we are developing an ethical advisor that provides guidance to health care workers faced with ethical dilemmas. MedEthEx is an implementation of Beauchamp's and Childress' Principles of Biomedical Ethics that harnesses machine learning techniques to abstract decision principles from cases in a particular type of dilemma with conflicting prima facie duties and uses these principles to determine the correct course of action in similar and new cases. We believe that accomplishing this will be a useful first step towards creating machines that can interact with those in need of health care in a way that is sensitive to ethical issues that may arise.


Toward Ensuring Ethical Behavior from Autonomous Systems: A Case-Supported Principle-Based Paradigm

AAAI Conferences

A paradigm of case-supported principle-based behavior (CPB) is proposed to help ensure ethical behavior of autonomous machines. We argue that ethically significant behavior of autonomous systems should be guided by explicit ethical principles determined through a consensus of ethicists. Such a consensus is likely to emerge in many areas in which autonomous systems are apt to be deployed and for the actions they are liable to undertake, as we are more likely to agree on how machines ought to treat us than on how human beings ought to treat one another. Given such a consensus, particular cases of ethical dilemmas where ethicists agree on the ethically relevant features and the right course of action can be used to help discover principles needed for ethical guidance of the behavior of autonomous systems. Such principles help ensure the ethical behavior of complex and dynamic systems and further serve as a basis for justification of their actions as well as a control abstraction for managing unanticipated behavior. The requirements, methods, implementation, and evaluation components of the CPB paradigm are detailed.