Will Computer Systems Be Selecting Courses of Actions That Face Ethical Dilemmas?

Computers will face that fork in the road when a decision must be made between one path not being as bad as the other.  Choosing among bad outcomes based on making moral decisions could be part of what engineers must grapple with in designing driverless cars for example.  This comes down to designing and deciding what is the right set of constraints and algorithms that best resolve life and death conflicts for a machine.  Can machines be programmed to make ethical decisions?


Nowadays, when computer systems select from among different courses of action, they engage in a kind of decision-making process. The ethical dimensions of this decision-making are largely determined by the values engineers incorporate into the systems, either implicitly or explicitly.

Unlike top-down ethical theories, which define what is and is not moral, in bottom-up approaches any ethical principles must be discovered or constructed. Some claim that utilitarianism is not a particularly useful or practical theory arguing that … Credits: Does Humanity Want Computers Making Moral Decisions? – Practical Ethics (blog)

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