Information, Ethics, and Computers: The Problem of Autonomous Moral Agents [Book Review]

Minds and Machines 14 (1):67-83 (2004)
Abstract
In modern technical societies computers interact with human beings in ways that can affect moral rights and obligations. This has given rise to the question whether computers can act as autonomous moral agents. The answer to this question depends on many explicit and implicit definitions that touch on different philosophical areas such as anthropology and metaphysics. The approach chosen in this paper centres on the concept of information. Information is a multi-facetted notion which is hard to define comprehensively. However, the frequently used definition of information as data endowed with meaning can promote our understanding. It is argued that information in this sense is a necessary condition of cognitivist ethics. This is the basis for analysing computers and information processors regarding their status as possible moral agents. Computers have several characteristics that are desirable for moral agents. However, computers in their current form are unable to capture the meaning of information and therefore fail to reflect morality in anything but a most basic sense of the term. This shortcoming is discussed using the example of the Moral Turing Test. The paper ends with a consideration of which conditions computers would have to fulfil in order to be able to use information in such a way as to render them capable of acting morally and reflecting ethically
Keywords autonomous moral agent  ethics  meaning  information  morality  responsibility
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,392
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-09-01

Total downloads

13 ( #122,728 of 1,102,934 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

9 ( #24,648 of 1,102,934 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.