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Moral MachinesTeaching Robots Right from Wrong$
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Wendell Wallach and Colin Allen

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195374049

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195374049.001.0001

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Moral Machines

Wendell Wallach

Colin Allen (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

A framework is provided for understanding the trajectory toward increasingly sophisticated artificial moral agents, emphasizing two dimensions: autonomy and sensitivity to morally relevant facts. Systems low on both dimensions have “operational morality” their moral significance is entirely in the hands of designers and users. Systems intermediate on either dimension have “functional morality” the machines themselves can assess and respond to moral challenges. Full moral agents, high on both dimensions, may be unattainable with present technology. This framework is compared to Moor's categories, which range from implicit ethical agents whose actions have ethical impact, to explicit ethical agents that are explicit ethical reasoners. Different ethical issues are raised by AI's various objectives from the augmentation of human decision making (basic decision support systems to cyborgs) to fully autonomous systems. Finally, the feasibility of a modified Turing Test for evaluating artificial moral agents—a Moral Turing Test—is discussed.

Keywords:   AI, artificial moral agents, autonomous system, cyborg, decision support system, functional morality, explicit ethical agents, Moral Turing Test, operational morality, Turing Test

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