From machine ethics to computational ethics

AI and Society 36 (1):263-276 (2021)
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Abstract

Research into the ethics of artificial intelligence is often categorized into two subareas—robot ethics and machine ethics. Many of the definitions and classifications of the subject matter of these subfields, as found in the literature, are conflated, which I seek to rectify. In this essay, I infer that using the term ‘machine ethics’ is too broad and glosses over issues that the term computational ethics best describes. I show that the subject of inquiry of computational ethics is of great value and indeed is an important frontier in developing ethical artificial intelligence systems. I also show that computational is a distinct, often neglected field in the ethics of AI. In contrast to much of the literature, I argue that the appellation ‘machine ethics’ does not sufficiently capture the entire project of embedding ethics into AI/S, and hence the need for computational ethics. This essay is unique for two reasons; first, it offers a philosophical analysis of the subject of computational ethics that is not found in the literature. Second, it offers a finely grained analysis that shows the thematic distinction among robot ethics, machine ethics and computational ethics.

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Samuel T. Segun
University of Johannesburg

Citations of this work

Critically engaging the ethics of AI for a global audience.Samuel T. Segun - 2021 - Ethics and Information Technology 23 (2):99-105.

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