First Steps Towards an Ethics of Robots and Artificial Intelligence

Journal of Practical Ethics, Volume 7, Number 1, June 2019

King's College London Law School Research Paper Forthcoming

35 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2019

See all articles by John Tasioulas

John Tasioulas

King's College London - The Dickson Poon School of Law

Date Written: June 30, 2019

Abstract

This article offers an overview of the main first-order ethical questions raised by robots and Artificial Intelligence (RAIs) under five broad rubrics: functionality, inherent significance, rights and responsibilities, side-effects, and threats. The first letter of each rubric taken together conveniently generates the acronym FIRST. Special attention is given to the rubrics of functionality and inherent significance given the centrality of the former and the tendency to neglect the latter in virtue of its somewhat nebulous and contested character. In addition to exploring some illustrative issues arising under each rubric, the article also emphasizes a number of more general themes. These include: the multiplicity of interacting levels on which ethical questions about RAIs arise, the need to recognise that RAIs potentially implicate the full gamut of human values (rather than exclusively or primarily some readily identifiable sub-set of ethical or legal principles), and the need for practically salient ethical reflection on RAIs to be informed by a realistic appreciation of their existing and foreseeable capacities.

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Ethics, Robots, Philosophy

Suggested Citation

Tasioulas, John, First Steps Towards an Ethics of Robots and Artificial Intelligence (June 30, 2019). Journal of Practical Ethics, Volume 7, Number 1, June 2019, King's College London Law School Research Paper Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3413639

John Tasioulas (Contact Author)

King's College London - The Dickson Poon School of Law ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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