The rise of the robots and the crisis of moral patiency

AI and Society 34 (1):129-136 (2019)

Authors
John Danaher
University College, Galway
Abstract
This paper adds another argument to the rising tide of panic about robots and AI. The argument is intended to have broad civilization-level significance, but to involve less fanciful speculation about the likely future intelligence of machines than is common among many AI-doomsayers. The argument claims that the rise of the robots will create a crisis of moral patiency. That is to say, it will reduce the ability and willingness of humans to act in the world as responsible moral agents, and thereby reduce them to moral patients. Since that ability and willingness is central to the value system in modern liberal democratic states, the crisis of moral patiency has a broad civilization-level significance: it threatens something that is foundational to and presupposed in much contemporary moral and political discourse. I defend this argument in three parts. I start with a brief analysis of an analogous argument made in pop culture. Though those arguments turn out to be hyperbolic and satirical, they do prove instructive as they illustrates a way in which the rise of robots could impact upon civilization, even when the robots themselves are neither malicious nor powerful enough to bring about our doom. I then introduce the argument from the crisis of moral patiency, defend its main premises and address objections.
Keywords Robotics  Artificial Intelligence  Moral Agency  Moral Patiency  Technology  Ethics
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s00146-017-0773-9
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
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

Pure Epistemic Proceduralism.Fabienne Peter - 2008 - Episteme: A Journal of Social Epistemology 5 (1):33-55.
Sex Work, Technological Unemployment and the Basic Income Guarantee.John Danaher - 2014 - Journal of Evolution and Technology 24 (1):113-130.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

On the Moral Responsibility of Military Robots.Thomas Hellström - 2013 - Ethics and Information Technology 15 (2):99-107.
Just War and Robots’ Killings.Thomas W. Simpson & Vincent C. Müller - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (263):302-22.
Moral Appearances: Emotions, Robots, and Human Morality. [REVIEW]Mark Coeckelbergh - 2010 - Ethics and Information Technology 12 (3):235-241.
A Vindication of the Rights of Machines.David J. Gunkel - 2014 - Philosophy and Technology 27 (1):113-132.
When is a Robot a Moral Agent.John P. Sullins - 2006 - International Review of Information Ethics 6 (12):23-30.
What Should We Want From a Robot Ethic.Peter M. Asaro - 2006 - International Review of Information Ethics 6 (12):9-16.
Could Cats Turn Out to Be Robots?Jonathan Michael Wilwerding - 1990 - Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2017-11-18

Total views
978 ( #2,563 of 2,260,175 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
234 ( #1,634 of 2,260,175 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature