Ethics and artificial life: From modeling to moral agents [Book Review]

Ethics and Information Technology 7 (3):139-148 (2005)
Artificial Life has two goals. One attempts to describe fundamental qualities of living systems through agent based computer models. And the second studies whether or not we can artificially create living things in computational mediums that can be realized either, virtually in software, or through biotechnology. The study of ALife has recently branched into two further subdivisions, one is “dry” ALife, which is the study of living systems “in silico” through the use of computer simulations, and the other is “wet” ALife that uses biological material to realize what has only been simulated on computers, effectively wet ALife uses biological material as a kind of computer. This is challenging to the field of computer ethics as it points towards a future in which computer and bioethics might have shared concerns. The emerging studies into wet ALife are likely to provide strong empirical evidence for ALife’s most challenging hypothesis: that life is a certain set of computable functions that can be duplicated in any medium. I believe this will propel ALife into the midst of the mother of all cultural battles that has been gathering around the emergence of biotechnology. Philosophers need to pay close attention to this debate and can serve a vital role in clarifying and resolving the dispute. But even if ALife is merely a computer modeling technique that sheds light on living systems, it still has a number of significant ethical implications such as its use in the modeling of moral and ethical systems, as well as in the creation of artificial moral agents.
Keywords artificial life   ethical status of artificial agents   machine ethics   simulating evolutionary ethics
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10676-006-0003-5
 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: 23,280
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

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

33 ( #143,659 of 1,932,461 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #332,988 of 1,932,461 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

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