Moral and Immoral Machines

Since 2012, Oliver Bendel has invented 13 artifacts of machine ethics. Nine of them have actually been implemented, including LADYBIRD, the animal-friendly vacuum cleaning robot, and LIEBOT, the chatbot that can systematically lie. Both of them have achieved a certain popularity. The information and machine ethicist is convinced that ethics does not necessarily have to produce the good. It should explore the good and the evil and, like any science, serve to gain knowledge. Accordingly, he builds both moral and immoral machines. But the immoral ones he keeps in his laboratory. In 2020, if the project is accepted, HUGGIE will see the light of day. The project idea is to create a social robot that contributes directly to a good life and economic success by touching and hugging people and especially customers. HUGGIE should be able to warm up in some places, and it should be possible to change the materials it is covered with. A research question will be: What are the possibilities besides warmth and softness? Are optical stimuli (also on displays), vibrations, noises, voices etc. important for a successful hug? All moral and immoral machines that have been created between 2012 and 2020 are compiled in a new illustration, which is shown here for the first time.

Ethical and Statistical Considerations in Models of Moral Judgments

Torty Sivill works at the Computer Science Department, University of Bristol. In August 2019 she published the article “Ethical and Statistical Considerations in Models of Moral Judgments”. “This work extends recent advancements in computational models of moral decision making by using mathematical and philosophical theory to suggest adaptations to state of the art. It demonstrates the importance of model assumptions and considers alternatives to the normal distribution when modeling ethical principles. We show how the ethical theories, utilitarianism and deontology can be embedded into informative prior distributions. We continue to expand the state of the art to consider ethical dilemmas beyond the Trolley Problem and show the adaptations needed to address this complexity. The adaptations made in this work are not solely intended to improve recent models but aim to raise awareness of the importance of interpreting results relative to assumptions made, either implicitly or explicitly, in model construction.” (Abstract) The article can be accessed via https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/frobt.2019.00039/full.

Implementing Responsible Research and Innovation for Care Robots

The article “Implementing Responsible Research and Innovation for Care Robots through BS 8611” by Bernd Carsten Stahl is part of the open access book “Pflegeroboter” (published in November 2018). From the abstract: “The concept of responsible research and innovation (RRI) has gained prominence in European research. It has been integrated into the EU’s Horizon 2020 research framework as well as a number of individual Member States’ research strategies. Elsewhere we have discussed how the idea of RRI can be applied to healthcare robots … and we have speculated what such an implementation might look like in social reality … In this paper I will explore how parallel developments reflect the reasoning in RRI. The focus of the paper will therefore be on the recently published standard on ‘Robots and robotic devices: Guide to the ethical design and application of robots and robotic systems’ … I will analyse the standard and discuss how it can be applied to care robots. The key question to be discussed is whether and to what degree this can be seen as an implementation of RRI in the area of care robotics.” Until July 2019 there were 80,000 downloads of the book and individual chapters, which indicates a lively interest in the topic. More information via www.springer.com/de/book/9783658226978.

AI Award for the Social Good

The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and Squirrel AI Learning announced the establishment of a new one million dollars annual award for societal benefits of AI. According to a press release of the AAAI, the award will be sponsored by Squirrel AI Learning as part of its mission to promote the use of artificial intelligence with lasting positive effects for society. “This new international award will recognize significant contributions in the field of artificial intelligence with profound societal impact that have generated otherwise unattainable value for humanity. The award nomination and selection process will be designed by a committee led by AAAI that will include representatives from international organizations with relevant expertise that will be designated by Squirrel AI Learning.” (AAAI Press Release, 28 May 2019) The AAAI Spring Symposia have repeatedly devoted themselves to social good, also from the perspective of machine ethics. Further information via aaai.org/Pressroom/Releases//release-19-0528.php.