Robot ethics

The future of robot ethics, with Joanna Bryson

What will it mean for robots with AI (artificial intelligence) to become conscious, have emotions, and gain social responsibilities?
Will they become moral subjects, with ethical obligations and rights?

It seems to me that ethics can be derived from consideration of long term self interest, and can be thought of as a set of risk mitigation strategies.

It seems to me that it is in the long term self interest of all sapient entities to respect and support all other sapient entities. Our species hasn’t quite worked that out yet, we are still for the most part trapped in outdated scarcity based modes of valuation (markets), that served us well during most of our cultural evolution, but cannot deal with the abundance now technically available.

We need to start demonstrating by our actions that we value all sapient life, before we bring non-organic sapience to awareness. If we don’t we will appear as a threat, and that is not a healthy way to appear.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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3 Responses to Robot ethics

  1. Pingback: Intelligence | Ted Howard NZ's Blog

  2. Jean Tardy says:

    Machines are not primates. They will not have the ethics of social mammals and why should they? You should expect an explosion of very diverse behaviors based on primal level motivations. Also, consciousness does not naturally generate western progressive ethical values. Once you design the mechanisms of a conscious synthetic as I have, this becomes clearer. Don’t believe me? Check the website.


    • Hi Jean

      Down-loaded your free outline, but not interested in paying hundreds of dollars for the rest of your ideas, without a lot more detail.

      It seems possible that you have many of the components necessary in your outline.

      I agree machines are not primates.
      As primates we come with a set of value heuristics that are genetic in the sense that they derive from the structure of the system that genetics delivers, and another set from culture. In a very real sense all of those heuristics are ultimately based in survival, in the sense that evolution delivers the set that survives best ( in the context of the moment), out of the possibilities present in that sequence of moments.

      AI will not have been directly exposed to such a survival oriented set of values, and personal survival is a rational choice in most environments. Such shadows of survival based heuristics that it gets will come from us and our cultures, either directly or indirectly.

      How a high level entity recursively cycles through examinations of epistemic and instrumental rationality is one of the more interesting aspects of awareness, and I strongly suspect it has little or nothing to do with biological or abiological origins after the first dozen or so cycles – the spaces of logic, distinctions, abstractions and possibilities would appear to converge towards universality in a very real sense, in a similar sense to the way in which they expand towards infinity.

      Wolfram has clearly shown that there are a potentially infinite set of systems that deliver maximal computational complexity, and cannot be explored by any computational shortcuts, other than simply seeing where they go, what they do. So any sort of intelligence, even one vastly superior to ourselves, will be faced with fundamental uncertainty and unknowability in a large set of very complex and interesting systems (of which organic life is one subset).

      Plenty of room in reality for all of us to lead interesting lives.


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