AI ethics and the banality of evil

Ethics and Information Technology 23 (3):447-454 (2021)

Abstract

In this paper, I draw on Hannah Arendt’s notion of ‘banality of evil’ to argue that as long as AI systems are designed to follow codes of ethics or particular normative ethical theories chosen by us and programmed in them, they are Eichmanns destined to commit evil. Since intelligence alone is not sufficient for ethical decision making, rather than strive to program AI to determine the right ethical decision based on some ethical theory or criteria, AI should be concerned with avoiding making the wrong decisions, and this requires hardwiring the thinking activity as a prerequisite for decision making.

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Payman Tajalli
Macquarie University (PhD)

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