Moral Machines?

Science and Engineering Ethics 18 (2):411-417 (2012)
Abstract
Wendell Wallach and Colin Allen’s Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right From Wrong (Oxford University Press, 2009) explores efforts to develop machines that, not only can be employed for good or bad ends, but which themselves can be held morally accountable for what they do— artificial moral agents (AMAs). This essay is a critical response to Wallach and Allen’s conjectures. Although Wallach and Allen do not suggest that we are close to being able to create full-fledged AMAs, they do talk seriously about making incremental progress in the direction of creating them (even if we never fully succeed). However, there are important questions about the moral development of AMAs that Moral Machines does not address. Given the responsibilities entrusted to human moral agents, we take questions about their moral development very seriously. In the case of children, the hope is that eventually they will develop into full-fledged moral agents. How might we expect this to go with less than fully formed AMAs? Will there be a comparable story of moral development and moral education that we can tell?
Keywords Algorithms  Aristotle  Artificial moral agent  Critical thinkers  Deontologists  Design  Judgment  Kantians  Moral agent  Moral development  Moral machine  Moral robot  Morally charged system  Plural subject  Robot  Utilitarian
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