AI As a Moral Right-Holder

In Markus Dubber, Frank Pasquale & Sunit Das (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Ethics of AI. New York: Oxford University Press (2020)
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Abstract

This chapter evaluates whether AI systems are or will be rights-holders, explaining the conditions under which people should recognize AI systems as rights-holders. It develops a skeptical stance toward the idea that current forms of artificial intelligence are holders of moral rights, beginning with an articulation of one of the most prominent and most plausible theories of moral rights: the Interest Theory of rights. On the Interest Theory, AI systems will be rights-holders only if they have interests or a well-being. Current AI systems are not bearers of well-being, and so fail to meet the necessary condition for being rights-holders. This argument is robust against a range of different objections. However, the chapter also shows why difficulties in assessing whether future AI systems might have interests or be bearers of well-being—and so be rights-holders—raise difficult ethical challenges for certain developments in AI.

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Author Profiles

John Basl
Northeastern University
Joseph Bowen
Stockholm University

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