The AI Ethicist: Fact or Fiction?

14 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2023

See all articles by Christian Terwiesch

Christian Terwiesch

University of Pennsylvania - Operations & Information Management Department

Lennart Meincke

University of Pennsylvania; The Wharton School

Date Written: October 11, 2023

Abstract

This study investigates the efficacy of an AI-based ethical advisor using the GPT-4 model. Drawing from a pool of ethical dilemmas published in the New York Times column “The Ethicist”, we compared the ethical advice given by the human expert and author of the column, Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah, with AI-generated advice. The comparison is done by evaluating the perceived usefulness of the ethical advice across three distinct groups: random subjects recruited from an online platform, Wharton MBA students, and a panel of ethical decision-making experts comprising academics and clergy. Our findings revealed no significant difference in the perceived value of the advice between human generated ethical advice and AI-generated ethical advice. When forced to choose between the two sources of advice, the random subjects recruited online displayed a slight but significant preference for the AI-generated advice, selecting it 60% of the time, while MBA students and the expert panel showed no significant preference.

Keywords: ethics, ethical advice, ethical dilemmas, ethicist, LLM, large-scale language models, AI, artificial intelligence, ChatGPT

Suggested Citation

Terwiesch, Christian and Meincke, Lennart, The AI Ethicist: Fact or Fiction? (October 11, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4609825 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4609825

Christian Terwiesch

University of Pennsylvania - Operations & Information Management Department ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Lennart Meincke (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

The Wharton School ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

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