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The Ethics of Information$
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Luciano Floridi

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199641321

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641321.001.0001

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The morality of artificial agents

The morality of artificial agents

(p.134) 7 The morality of artificial agents
The Ethics of Information

Luciano Floridi

Oxford University Press

In this chapter, I argue that there are clear and uncontroversial cases in which an artificial agent may qualify as a moral agent. This does not relieve the creator of that agent of responsibility. When moral artificial agents are in question, what counts is their moral accountability. This is not philosophical hair-splitting. Parents, for example, may still be responsible for the way in which their adult children behave, but they are certainly not accountable. They might be bitterly blamed, but they will not go to prison if their son, now in his thirties, turns out to be a serial killer. Likewise, engineers will be responsible for what and how they design artificial agents, even if they may not be accountable. The sooner we take this on board the better.

Keywords:   agents, patients, intentionality, teleology, freedom, responsibility, codes of ethics, censorship

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