How do we teach our machines to be ethical?
Gary Marcus explores the repercussions of machine ethics in this fascinating essay. Of particular note is the following excerpt, which contrasts machine ethics with humanity’s still-under-construction ethical methods:
The thought that haunts me the most is that that human ethics themselves are only a work-in-progress. We still confront situations for which we don’t have well-developed codes (e.g., in the case of assisted suicide) and need not look far into the past to find cases where our own codes were dubious, or worse (e.g., laws that permitted slavery and segregation). What we really want are machines that can go a step further, endowed not only with the soundest codes of ethics that our best contemporary philosophers can devise, but also with the possibility of machines making their own moral progress, bringing them past our own limited early-twenty-first century idea of morality.
In many ways what we’re searching for is a way to make machine ethics better than our own. How do you even begin to do that?
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