David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Minds and Machines 14 (1):67-83 (2004)
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)|
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
Gordana Dodig Crnkovic & Baran Çürüklü (2012). Robots: Ethical by Design. [REVIEW] Ethics and Information Technology 14 (1):61-71.
Gordana Dodig Crnkovic & Baran Çürüklü (2012). Robots: Ethical by Design. Ethics and Information Technology 14 (1):61-71.
Similar books and articles
Colin Allen, Iva Smit & Wendell Wallach (2005). Artificial Morality: Top-Down, Bottom-Up, and Hybrid Approaches. [REVIEW] Ethics and Information Technology 7 (3):149-155.
James H. Moor (1999). Using Genetic Information While Protecting the Privacy of the Soul. Ethics and Information Technology 1 (4):257-263.
Rafael Capurro (2008). On Floridi's Metaphysical Foundation of Information Ecology. Ethics and Information Technology 10 (2-3):167-173.
Deborah G. Johnson & Keith W. Miller (2008). Un-Making Artificial Moral Agents. Ethics and Information Technology 10 (2-3):123-133.
Deborah G. Johnson & Thomas M. Powers (2008). Computers as Surrogate Agents. In M. J. van den Joven & J. Weckert (eds.), Information Technology and Moral Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. 251.
Carl Mitcham & Alois Huning (eds.) (1985). Philosophy and Technology II: Information Technology and Computers in Theory and Practice. Reidel.
S. Grodzinsky Frances, W. Miller Keith & J. Wolf Marty (forthcoming). The Ethics of Designing Artificial Agents. Ethics and Information Technology.
Frances S. Grodzinsky, Keith W. Miller & Marty J. Wolf (2008). The Ethics of Designing Artificial Agents. Ethics and Information Technology 10 (2-3):115-121.
Bernd Carsten Stahl (2006). Responsible Computers? A Case for Ascribing Quasi-Responsibility to Computers Independent of Personhood or Agency. Ethics and Information Technology 8 (4):205-213.
Bernd Carsten Stahl (2004). Information, Ethics, and Computers: The Problem of Autonomous Moral Agents. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 14 (1):67-83.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads24 ( #85,274 of 1,692,205 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #78,120 of 1,692,205 )
How can I increase my downloads?