A Defense of the Rights of Artificial Intelligences

Midwest Studies in Philosophy 39 (1):98-119 (2015)
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Abstract

There are possible artificially intelligent beings who do not differ in any morally relevant respect from human beings. Such possible beings would deserve moral consideration similar to that of human beings. Our duties to them would not be appreciably reduced by the fact that they are non-human, nor by the fact that they owe their existence to us. Indeed, if they owe their existence to us, we would likely have additional moral obligations to them that we don’t ordinarily owe to human strangers – obligations similar to those of parent to child or god to creature. Given our moral obligations to such AIs, two principles for ethical AI design recommend themselves: (1) design AIs that tend to provoke reactions from users that accurately reflect the AIs’ real moral status, and (2) avoid designing AIs whose moral status is unclear. Since human moral intuition and moral theory evolved and developed in contexts without AI, those intuitions and theories might break down or become destabilized when confronted with the wide range of weird minds that AI design might make possible.

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Author Profiles

Eric Schwitzgebel
University of California, Riverside
Mara Garza
University of California, Riverside

Citations of this work

Welcoming Robots into the Moral Circle: A Defence of Ethical Behaviourism.John Danaher - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (4):2023-2049.
Understanding Artificial Agency.Leonard Dung - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
Robot Betrayal: a guide to the ethics of robotic deception.John Danaher - 2020 - Ethics and Information Technology 22 (2):117-128.
Is it time for robot rights? Moral status in artificial entities.Vincent C. Müller - 2021 - Ethics and Information Technology 23 (3):579–587.
The Prospects of Artificial Consciousness: Ethical Dimensions and Concerns.Elisabeth Hildt - 2023 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 14 (2):58-71.

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References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
Leviathan.Thomas Hobbes - 1651 - Harmondsworth,: Penguin Books. Edited by C. B. Macpherson.
Minds, brains, and programs.John Searle - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):417-57.

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