Expert Systems and Their Risks: An Ethical Study
International Conference on Computer Science, Communication, and Society: A Technical and Cultural Challenge (1993)
6 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2017
Date Written: 1993
During our whole life, even without being conscious of it, we very often have to rely on expert systems. These programs have, at one point, to make a decision without knowing if the made choice will lead to an accurate solution. In this paper we study to what point a computer system may be allowed to take decisions. Furthermore we are interested in understanding whom to hold morally responsible in case of failure.
The results obtained show that even among the computer science community, expert systems, and especially the theory behind them, are not very well understood. We studied the areas in which expert systems should be used by suggesting various scenarios to the participants. Results show that one has to make a clear distinction between life critical decisions, and decisions which are not life critical. The question whether a computer scientist having developed an expert system, may be held responsible in case of incorrect decisions, is investigated.
From this study we conclude that expert systems have their place in our society. The fear that exists towards these systems should be reduced by informing developers and users of their possibilities as well as their fundamental limitations. As often as possible, expert systems should be seen as decision making aids or tools instead of replacement of persons.
Keywords: Expert Systens, Decision Making, Failure, Responsibility
JEL Classification: Z19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation