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Killer robots

Journal of Applied Philosophy 24 (1):62–77 (2007)

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  1. Debunking (the) Retribution (Gap).Steven R. Kraaijeveld - 2019 - Science and Engineering Ethics:1-14.
    Robotization is an increasingly pervasive feature of our lives. Robots with high degrees of autonomy may cause harm, yet in sufciently complex systems neither the robots nor the human developers may be candidates for moral blame. John Danaher has recently argued that this may lead to a retribution gap, where the human desire for retribution faces a lack of appropriate subjects for retributive blame. The potential social and moral implications of a retribution gap are considerable. I argue that the retributive (...)
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  • Responsibility Practices and Unmanned Military Technologies.Merel Noorman - 2014 - Science and Engineering Ethics 20 (3):809-826.
    The prospect of increasingly autonomous military robots has raised concerns about the obfuscation of human responsibility. This papers argues that whether or not and to what extent human actors are and will be considered to be responsible for the behavior of robotic systems is and will be the outcome of ongoing negotiations between the various human actors involved. These negotiations are about what technologies should do and mean, but they are also about how responsibility should be interpreted and how it (...)
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  • Drones, Information Technology, and Distance: Mapping the Moral Epistemology of Remote Fighting. [REVIEW]Mark Coeckelbergh - 2013 - Ethics and Information Technology 15 (2):87-98.
    Ethical reflection on drone fighting suggests that this practice does not only create physical distance, but also moral distance: far removed from one’s opponent, it becomes easier to kill. This paper discusses this thesis, frames it as a moral-epistemological problem, and explores the role of information technology in bridging and creating distance. Inspired by a broad range of conceptual and empirical resources including ethics of robotics, psychology, phenomenology, and media reports, it is first argued that drone fighting, like other long-range (...)
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  • The Cubicle Warrior: The Marionette of Digitalized Warfare. [REVIEW]Rinie van Est - 2010 - Ethics and Information Technology 12 (3):289-296.
    In the last decade we have entered the era of remote controlled military technology. The excitement about this new technology should not mask the ethical questions that it raises. A fundamental ethical question is who may be held responsible for civilian deaths. In this paper we will discuss the role of the human operator or so-called ‘cubicle warrior’, who remotely controls the military robots behind visual interfaces. We will argue that the socio-technical system conditions the cubicle warrior to dehumanize the (...)
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  • The Philosophical Case for Robot Friendship.John Danaher - forthcoming - Journal of Posthuman Studies.
    Friendship is an important part of the good life. While many roboticists are eager to create friend-like robots, many philosophers and ethicists are concerned. They argue that robots cannot really be our friends. Robots can only fake the emotional and behavioural cues we associate with friendship. Consequently, we should resist the drive to create robot friends. In this article, I argue that the philosophical critics are wrong. Using the classic virtue-ideal of friendship, I argue that robots can plausibly be considered (...)
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  • Meaningful Human Control as Reason-Responsiveness: The Case of Dual-Mode Vehicles.Giulio Mecacci & Filippo Santoni de Sio - forthcoming - Ethics and Information Technology.
  • Robots in the Workplace: a Threat to—or Opportunity for—Meaningful Work?Jilles Smids, Sven Nyholm & Hannah Berkers - forthcoming - Philosophy and Technology:1-20.
    The concept of meaningful work has recently received increased attention in philosophy and other disciplines. However, the impact of the increasing robotization of the workplace on meaningful work has received very little attention so far. Doing work that is meaningful leads to higher job satisfaction and increased worker well-being, and some argue for a right to access to meaningful work. In this paper, we therefore address the impact of robotization on meaningful work. We do so by identifying five key aspects (...)
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  • Robowarfare: Can Robots Be More Ethical Than Humans on the Battlefield? [REVIEW]John P. Sullins - 2010 - Ethics and Information Technology 12 (3):263-275.
    Telerobotically operated and semiautonomous machines have become a major component in the arsenals of industrial nations around the world. By the year 2015 the United States military plans to have one-third of their combat aircraft and ground vehicles robotically controlled. Although there are many reasons for the use of robots on the battlefield, perhaps one of the most interesting assertions are that these machines, if properly designed and used, will result in a more just and ethical implementation of warfare. This (...)
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  • Information Warfare: A Philosophical Perspective. [REVIEW]Mariarosaria Taddeo - 2012 - Philosophy and Technology 25 (1):105-120.
    This paper focuses on Information Warfare—the warfare characterised by the use of information and communication technologies. This is a fast growing phenomenon, which poses a number of issues ranging from the military use of such technologies to its political and ethical implications. The paper presents a conceptual analysis of this phenomenon with the goal of investigating its nature. Such an analysis is deemed to be necessary in order to lay the groundwork for future investigations into this topic, addressing the ethical (...)
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  • Negotiating Autonomy and Responsibility in Military Robots.Merel Noorman & Deborah G. Johnson - 2014 - Ethics and Information Technology 16 (1):51-62.
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  • Can a Robot Be a Good Colleague?Sven Nyholm & Jilles Smids - forthcoming - Science and Engineering Ethics:1-20.
    This paper discusses the robotization of the workplace, and particularly the question of whether robots can be good colleagues. This might appear to be a strange question at first glance, but it is worth asking for two reasons. Firstly, some people already treat robots they work alongside as if the robots are valuable colleagues. It is worth reflecting on whether such people are making a mistake. Secondly, having good colleagues is widely regarded as a key aspect of what can make (...)
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  • Robots, Trust and War.Thomas W. Simpson - 2011 - Philosophy and Technology 24 (3):325-337.
    Putting robots on the battlefield is clearly appealing for policymakers. Why risk human lives, when robots could take our place, and do the dirty work of killing and dying for us? Against this, I argue that robots will be unable to win the kind of wars that we are increasingly drawn into. Modern warfare tends towards asymmetric conflict. Asymmetric warfare cannot be won without gaining the trust of the civilian population; this is ‘the hearts and minds’, in the hackneyed phrase (...)
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  • Robots of Just War: A Legal Perspective.Ugo Pagallo - 2011 - Philosophy and Technology 24 (3):307-323.
  • Robots as Weapons in Just Wars.Marcus Schulzke - 2011 - Philosophy and Technology 24 (3):293-306.
  • Safety Engineering for Artificial General Intelligence.Roman Yampolskiy & Joshua Fox - 2013 - Topoi 32 (2):217-226.
    Machine ethics and robot rights are quickly becoming hot topics in artificial intelligence and robotics communities. We will argue that attempts to attribute moral agency and assign rights to all intelligent machines are misguided, whether applied to infrahuman or superhuman AIs, as are proposals to limit the negative effects of AIs by constraining their behavior. As an alternative, we propose a new science of safety engineering for intelligent artificial agents based on maximizing for what humans value. In particular, we challenge (...)
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  • Autonomous Weapons and Distributed Responsibility.Marcus Schulzke - 2013 - Philosophy and Technology 26 (2):203-219.
    The possibility that autonomous weapons will be deployed on the battlefields of the future raises the challenge of determining who can be held responsible for how these weapons act. Robert Sparrow has argued that it would be impossible to attribute responsibility for autonomous robots' actions to their creators, their commanders, or the robots themselves. This essay reaches a much different conclusion. It argues that the problem of determining responsibility for autonomous robots can be solved by addressing it within the context (...)
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  • Artificial Agents and the Expanding Ethical Circle.Steve Torrance - 2013 - AI and Society 28 (4):399-414.
  • A Challenge for Machine Ethics.Ryan Tonkens - 2009 - Minds and Machines 19 (3):421-438.
    That the successful development of fully autonomous artificial moral agents (AMAs) is imminent is becoming the received view within artificial intelligence research and robotics. The discipline of Machines Ethics, whose mandate is to create such ethical robots, is consequently gaining momentum. Although it is often asked whether a given moral framework can be implemented into machines, it is never asked whether it should be. This paper articulates a pressing challenge for Machine Ethics: To identify an ethical framework that is both (...)
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  • On the Moral Responsibility of Military Robots.Thomas Hellström - 2013 - Ethics and Information Technology 15 (2):99-107.
    This article discusses mechanisms and principles for assignment of moral responsibility to intelligent robots, with special focus on military robots. We introduce the concept autonomous power as a new concept, and use it to identify the type of robots that call for moral considerations. It is furthermore argued that autonomous power, and in particular the ability to learn, is decisive for assignment of moral responsibility to robots. As technological development will lead to robots with increasing autonomous power, we should be (...)
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  • Advocating an Ethical Memory Model for Artificial Companions From a Human-Centred Perspective.Patricia A. Vargas, Ylva Fernaeus, Mei Yii Lim, Sibylle Enz, Wan Chin Ho, Mattias Jacobsson & Ruth Ayllet - 2011 - AI and Society 26 (4):329-337.
    This paper considers the ethical implications of applying three major ethical theories to the memory structure of an artificial companion that might have different embodiments such as a physical robot or a graphical character on a hand-held device. We start by proposing an ethical memory model and then make use of an action-centric framework to evaluate its ethical implications. The case that we discuss is that of digital artefacts that autonomously record and store user data, where this data are used (...)
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  • From Killer Machines to Doctrines and Swarms, or Why Ethics of Military Robotics Is Not (Necessarily) About Robots.Mark Coeckelbergh - 2011 - Philosophy and Technology 24 (3):269-278.
    Ethical reflections on military robotics can be enriched by a better understanding of the nature and role of these technologies and by putting robotics into context in various ways. Discussing a range of ethical questions, this paper challenges the prevalent assumptions that military robotics is about military technology as a mere means to an end, about single killer machines, and about “military” developments. It recommends that ethics of robotics attend to how military technology changes our aims, concern itself not only (...)
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  • What Are Applied Ethics?Fritz Allhoff - 2011 - Science and Engineering Ethics 17 (1):1-19.
    This paper explores the relationships that various applied ethics bear to each other, both in particular disciplines and more generally. The introductory section lays out the challenge of coming up with such an account and, drawing a parallel with the philosophy of science, offers that applied ethics may either be unified or disunified. The second section develops one simple account through which applied ethics are unified, vis-à-vis ethical theory. However, this is not taken to be a satisfying answer, for reasons (...)
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  • Just Research Into Killer Robots.Patrick Taylor Smith - 2019 - Ethics and Information Technology 21 (4):281-293.
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  • Out of Character: On the Creation of Virtuous Machines. [REVIEW]Ryan Tonkens - 2012 - Ethics and Information Technology 14 (2):137-149.
    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 (...)
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  • Building a Better Warbot: Ethical Issues in the Design of Unmanned Systems for Military Applications.Robert Sparrow - 2009 - Science and Engineering Ethics 15 (2):169-187.
    Unmanned systems in military applications will often play a role in determining the success or failure of combat missions and thus in determining who lives and dies in times of war. Designers of UMS must therefore consider ethical, as well as operational, requirements and limits when developing UMS. I group the ethical issues involved in UMS design under two broad headings, Building Safe Systems and Designing for the Law of Armed Conflict, and identify and discuss a number of issues under (...)
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  • Artificial Intelligence, Responsibility Attribution, and a Relational Justification of Explainability.Mark Coeckelbergh - forthcoming - Science and Engineering Ethics:1-18.
    This paper discusses the problem of responsibility attribution raised by the use of artificial intelligence technologies. It is assumed that only humans can be responsible agents; yet this alone already raises many issues, which are discussed starting from two Aristotelian conditions for responsibility. Next to the well-known problem of many hands, the issue of “many things” is identified and the temporal dimension is emphasized when it comes to the control condition. Special attention is given to the epistemic condition, which draws (...)
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  • Should We Be Afraid of Medical AI?Ezio Di Nucci - 2019 - Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (8):556-558.
    I analyse an argument according to which medical artificial intelligence represents a threat to patient autonomy—recently put forward by Rosalind McDougall in the Journal of Medical Ethics. The argument takes the case of IBM Watson for Oncology to argue that such technologies risk disregarding the individual values and wishes of patients. I find three problems with this argument: it confuses AI with machine learning; it misses machine learning’s potential for personalised medicine through big data; it fails to distinguish between evidence-based (...)
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  • Responsibility for Killer Robots.Johannes Himmelreich - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (3):731-747.
    Future weapons will make life-or-death decisions without a human in the loop. When such weapons inflict unwarranted harm, no one appears to be responsible. There seems to be a responsibility gap. I first reconstruct the argument for such responsibility gaps to then argue that this argument is not sound. The argument assumes that commanders have no control over whether autonomous weapons inflict harm. I argue against this assumption. Although this investigation concerns a specific case of autonomous weapons systems, I take (...)
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  • Distributive Justice as an Ethical Principle for Autonomous Vehicle Behavior Beyond Hazard Scenarios.Manuel Dietrich & Thomas H. Weisswange - 2019 - Ethics and Information Technology 21 (3):227-239.
  • Preventing Optimific Wrongings.Thomas Sinclair - 2017 - Utilitas 29 (4):453-473.
    Most people believe that the rights of others sometimes require us to act in ways that have even substantially sub-optimal outcomes, as viewed from an axiological perspective that ranks outcomes objectively. Bringing about the optimal outcome, contrary to such a requirement, is an ‘optimific wronging’. It is less clear, however, that we are required to prevent optimific wrongings. Perhaps the value of the outcome, combined with the relative weakness of prohibitions on allowing harm as compared to those against doing harm, (...)
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  • Should Autonomous Robots Be Pacifists?Ryan Tonkens - 2013 - Ethics and Information Technology 15 (2):109-123.
    Currently, the central questions in the philosophical debate surrounding the ethics of automated warfare are (1) Is the development and use of autonomous lethal robotic systems for military purposes consistent with (existing) international laws of war and received just war theory?; and (2) does the creation and use of such machines improve the moral caliber of modern warfare? However, both of these approaches have significant problems, and thus we need to start exploring alternative approaches. In this paper, I ask whether (...)
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  • Rethinking Military Virtue Ethics in an Age of Unmanned Weapons.Marcus Schulzke - 2016 - Journal of Military Ethics 15 (3):187-204.
    Although most styles of military ethics are hybrids that draw on multiple ethical theories, they are usually based primarily on the model of Aristotelian virtue ethics. Virtue ethics is well-suited for regulating the conduct of soldiers who have to make quick decisions on the battlefield, but its applicability to military personnel is threatened by the growing use of unmanned weapon systems. These weapons disrupt virtue ethics’ institutional and cultural basis by changing what it means to display virtue and transforming the (...)
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  • Robots and Respect: A Response to Robert Sparrow.Ryan Jenkins & Duncan Purves - 2016 - Ethics and International Affairs 30 (3):391-400.
    Robert Sparrow argues that several initially plausible arguments in favor of the deployment of autonomous weapons systems (AWS) in warfare fail, and that their deployment faces a serious moral objection: deploying AWS fails to express the respect for the casualties of war that morality requires. We critically discuss Sparrow’s argument from respect and respond on behalf of some objections he considers. Sparrow’s argument against AWS relies on the claim that they are distinct from accepted weapons of war in that they (...)
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  • Key Dialectics in Cloud Services.Brandt Dainow - 2015 - Acm Sigcas Computers and Society 45 (3):52-59.
    This paper will identify three central dialectics within cloud services. These constitute defining positions regarding the nature of cloud services in terms of privacy, ethical responsibility, technical architecture and economics. These constitute the main frameworks within which ethical discussions of cloud services occur. The first dialectic concerns the question of whether it is it essential that personal privacy be reduced in order to deliver personalised cloud services. I shall evaluate the main arguments in favour of the view that it is. (...)
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  • Just War and Robots’ Killings.Thomas W. Simpson & Vincent C. Müller - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (263):302-22.
    May lethal autonomous weapons systems—‘killer robots ’—be used in war? The majority of writers argue against their use, and those who have argued in favour have done so on a consequentialist basis. We defend the moral permissibility of killer robots, but on the basis of the non-aggregative structure of right assumed by Just War theory. This is necessary because the most important argument against killer robots, the responsibility trilemma proposed by Rob Sparrow, makes the same assumptions. We show that the (...)
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  • Bridging the Responsibility Gap in Automated Warfare.Marc Champagne & Ryan Tonkens - 2015 - Philosophy and Technology 28 (1):125-137.
    Sparrow argues that military robots capable of making their own decisions would be independent enough to allow us denial for their actions, yet too unlike us to be the targets of meaningful blame or praise—thereby fostering what Matthias has dubbed “the responsibility gap.” We agree with Sparrow that someone must be held responsible for all actions taken in a military conflict. That said, we think Sparrow overlooks the possibility of what we term “blank check” responsibility: A person of sufficiently high (...)
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  • Artificial Agents Among Us: Should We Recognize Them as Agents Proper?Laukyte Migle - 2017 - Ethics and Information Technology 19 (1):1-17.
  • Mind the Gap: Responsible Robotics and the Problem of Responsibility.David J. Gunkel - forthcoming - Ethics and Information Technology.
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  • Robots, Law and the Retribution Gap.John Danaher - 2016 - Ethics and Information Technology 18 (4):299–309.
    We are living through an era of increased robotisation. Some authors have already begun to explore the impact of this robotisation on legal rules and practice. In doing so, many highlight potential liability gaps that might arise through robot misbehaviour. Although these gaps are interesting and socially significant, they do not exhaust the possible gaps that might be created by increased robotisation. In this article, I make the case for one of those alternative gaps: the retribution gap. This gap arises (...)
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  • A Typology of Posthumanism: A Framework for Differentiating Analytic, Synthetic, Theoretical, and Practical Posthumanisms.Matthew E. Gladden - 2016 - In Sapient Circuits and Digitalized Flesh: The Organization as Locus of Technological Posthumanization. Defragmenter Media. pp. 31-91.
    The term ‘posthumanism’ has been employed to describe a diverse array of phenomena ranging from academic disciplines and artistic movements to political advocacy campaigns and the development of commercial technologies. Such phenomena differ widely in their subject matter, purpose, and methodology, raising the question of whether it is possible to fashion a coherent definition of posthumanism that encompasses all phenomena thus labelled. In this text, we seek to bring greater clarity to this discussion by formulating a novel conceptual framework for (...)
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  • Organizational Posthumanism.Matthew E. Gladden - 2016 - In Sapient Circuits and Digitalized Flesh: The Organization as Locus of Technological Posthumanization. Defragmenter Media. pp. 93-131.
    Building on existing forms of critical, cultural, biopolitical, and sociopolitical posthumanism, in this text a new framework is developed for understanding and guiding the forces of technologization and posthumanization that are reshaping contemporary organizations. This ‘organizational posthumanism’ is an approach to analyzing, creating, and managing organizations that employs a post-dualistic and post-anthropocentric perspective and which recognizes that emerging technologies will increasingly transform the kinds of members, structures, systems, processes, physical and virtual spaces, and external ecosystems that are available for organizations (...)
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  • Sexual Rights, Disability and Sex Robots.Ezio Di Nucci - forthcoming - In John Danaher & Neil McArthur (eds.), Sex Robots. MIT Press.
    I argue that the right to sexual satisfaction of severely physically and mentally disabled people and elderly people who suffer from neurodegenerative diseases can be fulfilled by deploying sex robots; this would enable us to satisfy the sexual needs of many who cannot provide for their own sexual satisfaction; without at the same time violating anybody’s right to sexual self-determination. I don’t offer a full-blown moral justification of deploying sex robots in such cases, as not all morally relevant concerns can (...)
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  • On the Matter of Robot Minds.Brian P. McLaughlin & David Rose - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy.
    The view that phenomenally conscious robots are on the horizon often rests on a certain philosophical view about consciousness, one we call “nomological behaviorism.” The view entails that, as a matter of nomological necessity, if a robot had exactly the same patterns of dispositions to peripheral behavior as a phenomenally conscious being, then the robot would be phenomenally conscious; indeed it would have all and only the states of phenomenal consciousness that the phenomenally conscious being in question has. We experimentally (...)
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  • Robots, Autonomy, and Responsibility.Raul Hakli & Pekka Mäkelä - 2016 - In Johanna Seibt, Marco Nørskov & Søren Schack Andersen (eds.), What Social Robots Can and Should Do: Proceedings of Robophilosophy 2016. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: IOS Press. pp. 145-154.
    We study whether robots can satisfy the conditions for agents fit to be held responsible in a normative sense, with a focus on autonomy and self-control. An analogy between robots and human groups enables us to modify arguments concerning collective responsibility for studying questions of robot responsibility. On the basis of Alfred R. Mele’s history-sensitive account of autonomy and responsibility it can be argued that even if robots were to have all the capacities usually required of moral agency, their history (...)
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  • Should We Campaign Against Sex Robots?John Danaher, Brian D. Earp & Anders Sandberg - 2017 - In John Danaher & Neil McArthur (eds.), Robot Sex: Social and Ethical Implications. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    In September 2015 a well-publicised Campaign Against Sex Robots (CASR) was launched. Modelled on the longer-standing Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, the CASR opposes the development of sex robots on the grounds that the technology is being developed with a particular model of female-male relations (the prostitute-john model) in mind, and that this will prove harmful in various ways. In this chapter, we consider carefully the merits of campaigning against such a technology. We make three main arguments. First, we argue (...)
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  • Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems and Responsibility Gaps.Anne Gerdes - 2018 - Philosophy Study 8 (5).
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  • The Philosophy of Computer Science.Raymond Turner - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • Arguments for Banning Autonomous Weapon Systems: A Critique.Hunter Cantrell - 2019 - Dissertation,
    Autonomous Weapon Systems (AWS) are the next logical advancement for military technology. There is a significant concern though that by allowing such systems on the battlefield, we are collectively abdicating our moral responsibility. In this thesis, I will examine two arguments that advocate for a total ban on the use of AWS. I call these arguments the “Responsibility” and the “Agency” arguments. After presenting these arguments, I provide my own objections and demonstrate why these arguments fail to convince. I then (...)
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  • The Retribution-Gap and Responsibility-Loci Related to Robots and Automated Technologies: A Reply to Nyholm.Roos de Jong - forthcoming - Science and Engineering Ethics:1-9.
    Automated technologies and robots make decisions that cannot always be fully controlled or predicted. In addition to that, they cannot respond to punishment and blame in the ways humans do. Therefore, when automated cars harm or kill people, for example, this gives rise to concerns about responsibility-gaps and retribution-gaps. According to Sven Nyholm, however, automated cars do not pose a challenge on human responsibility, as long as humans can control them and update them. He argues that the agency exercised in (...)
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  • Killing by Autonomous Vehicles and the Legal Doctrine of Necessity.Filippo Santoni de Sio - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (2):411-429.
    How should autonomous vehicles be programmed to behave in the event of an unavoidable accident in which the only choice open is one between causing different damages or losses to different objects or persons? This paper addresses this ethical question starting from the normative principles elaborated in the law to regulate difficult choices in other emergency scenarios. In particular, the paper offers a rational reconstruction of some major principles and norms embedded in the Anglo-American jurisprudence and case law on the (...)
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