Out of character: on the creation of virtuous machines [Book Review]

Ethics and Information Technology 14 (2):137-149 (2012)
Abstract
The emerging discipline of Machine Ethics is concerned with creating autonomous artificial moral agents that perform ethically significant actions out in the world. Recently, Wallach and Allen (Moral machines: teaching robots right from wrong, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009) and others have argued that a virtue-based moral framework is a promising tool for meeting this end. However, even if we could program autonomous machines to follow a virtue-based moral framework, there are certain pressing ethical issues that need to be taken into account, prior to the implementation and development stages. Here I examine whether the creation of virtuous autonomous machines is morally permitted by the central tenets of virtue ethics. It is argued that the creation of such machines violates certain tenets of virtue ethics, and hence that the creation and use of those machines is impermissible. One upshot of this is that, although virtue ethics may have a role to play in certain near-term Machine Ethics projects (e.g. designing systems that are sensitive to ethical considerations), machine ethicists need to look elsewhere for a moral framework to implement into their autonomous artificial moral agents, Wallach and Allen’s claims notwithstanding
Keywords Machine ethics  Autonomous artificial moral agents  Virtue ethics  Social justice  Wallach and Allen
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References found in this work BETA
Peter Asaro (2008). How Just Could a Robot War Be? In P. Brey, A. Briggle & K. Waelbers (eds.), Current Issues in Computing and Philosophy. Ios Press. 50--64.
Philippa Foot (1977). Euthanasia. Philosophy and Public Affairs 6 (2):85-112.

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Citations of this work BETA
Ryan Tonkens (2013). Should Autonomous Robots Be Pacifists? Ethics and Information Technology 15 (2):109-123.
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