Intelligent Machines, Collectives, and Moral Responsibility

Courtenage, S. 2024. Intelligent Machines, Collectives, and Moral Responsibility. AI and Ethics. 4, pp. 485-498. https://doi.org//10.1007/s43681-023-00285-6

TitleIntelligent Machines, Collectives, and Moral Responsibility
TypeJournal article
AuthorsCourtenage, S.
Abstract

Collectives, such as companies, are generally thought to be moral agents and hence capable of being held responsible for what they do. If collectives, being non-human, can be ascribed moral responsibility, then can we do the same for machines? Is it equally the case that machines, particularly intelligent machines, can be held morally responsible for what they choose to do? I consider the conditions required for moral responsibility, and argue that, in terms of the agency condition, artificial, non-human entities in general are excused from being responsible because, although they may choose their actions, the beliefs and desires that form the basis of their choices are predetermined by their designers, placing them in an analogous position to persons suffering covert manipulation. This creates a problem for collective responsibility, but I argue that collectives, through their supervention on human persons, represent an exception. Finally, I consider that the design of future machines may be sufficiently abstract and high-level as to fall below some threshold of influence, allowing machines enough freedom for us to hold them responsible.

KeywordsArtificial Intelligence
machine intelligence
moral responsibility
moral agency
collective agency
JournalAI and Ethics
Journal citation4, pp. 485-498
ISSN2730-5961
Year2024
PublisherSpringer
Publisher's version
License
CC BY 4.0
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org//10.1007/s43681-023-00285-6
Web address (URL)https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s43681-023-00285-6
Publication dates
Published online18 Apr 2023
Published in print2024

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