Artificial virtuous agents: from theory to machine implementation

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Virtue ethics has many times been suggested as a promising recipe for the construction of artificial moral agents due to its emphasis on moral character and learning. However, given the complex nature of the theory, hardly any work has de facto attempted to implement the core tenets of virtue ethics in moral machines. The main goal of this paper is to demonstrate how virtue ethics can be taken all the way from theory to machine implementation. To achieve this goal, we critically explore the possibilities and challenges for virtue ethics from a computational perspective. Drawing on previous conceptual and technical work, we outline a version of artificial virtue based on moral functionalism, connectionist bottom–up learning, and eudaimonic reward. We then describe how core features of the outlined theory can be interpreted in terms of functionality, which in turn informs the design of components necessary for virtuous cognition. Finally, we present a comprehensive framework for the technical development of artificial virtuous agents and discuss how they can be implemented in moral environments.
TidskriftAI & Society: Knowledge, Culture and Communication
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 2021 dec. 15

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Etik
  • Robotteknik och automation


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