The ethics of AI

24/06/2024 20mins
Venkat Ramakrishnan


Artificial intelligence is associated with the use of machines that are capable of displaying human-level or superior intelligence. Simply put, there are a few behaviours that all artificial intelligence systems seem to exhibit. These include reasoning, perception, solving problems, representation of knowledge, planning, learning, manipulation, creativity, social intelligence, and motion.

Now, with an accelerated development in the field of artificial intelligence, a number of moral concerns have risen. This is what the ethics of artificial intelligence revolves around.

In simple terms, the ethics of AI refer to the ethics in the field of technology, specifically revolving around artificial intelligence creations such as robots and other machines. Usually, ethics of artificial intelligence are also further divided into sub-categories such as robot-ethics which revolves around the morality of human beings that goes into the construction, manufacturing, use, and the design of artificial intelligence beings. On the other hand, machine ethics which is another branch of artificial intelligence ethics revolves around the morality of the AMAs (artificial moral agents) behaviours.

The robot-ethics in specific also deals with human safety. Because it is believed that human beings may be harmed by artificial intelligence beings in spite of the benefits that they could bring to humans.

There is another concept to the ethics of artificial intelligence, known as robot rights. Robot rights specifically deal with the moral obligations that people are supposed to have for the machines that they own or have created. These rights are somewhat similar to the rights of children or the rights of animals. Just as how the human rights have a link to the human duties before the society, it is usually suggested that the robot rights should have a link to the robot’s duty of serving a human being. These rights usually include the rights to perform the mission and to exist. Apart from that, such rights in the future may also encompass the freedom of thought, equality in the eyes of the law, and freedom of expression along with the rights to liberty and life.

According to many experts, however, such detailed laws regarding artificial intelligence beings may not be required in the near future or any time soon. This is because it is considered a thing of the distant future.

The ethics of artificial intelligence also revolves around the threats that artificial intelligence has for the dignity of humans. For instance, artificial intelligence technology should never be used as a replacement tool for the human workforce in areas such as therapy, customer service, judges, police officers, and soldiers. This is because there is a great need for empathy in areas such as this. In case these fields get replaced with artificially intelligent beings, human beings themselves will become frustrated, alienated, and totally devalued. However, there have been counter-arguments to this. Many people say that they will rather prefer to have police officers that have no personal interests and judges that are automated, resulting in fair trials.

Nevertheless, the field of the ethics of artificial intelligence is further going to expand in the near future as the technological capabilities of AI systems get widened even further.



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