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Computational Models of Ethical Reasoning: Challenges, Initial Steps, and Future Directions
July/August 2006 (vol. 21 no. 4)
pp. 29-37
Bruce M. McLaren, Carnegie Mellon University
Computational models of ethical reasoning are in their infancy in the field of artificial intelligence. Ethical reasoning is a particularly challenging area of human behavior for AI scientists and engineers because of its reliance on abstract principles, philosophical theories not easily rendered computational, and deep-seated, even religious, beliefs. A further issue is this endeavor's ethical dimension: Is it even appropriate for scientists to try to imbue computers with ethical-reasoning powers? A look at attempts to build computational models of ethical reasoning illustrates this task's challenges. In particular, the Truth-Teller and SIROCCO programs incorporate AI computational models of ethical reasoning, both of which model the ethical approach known as casuistry. Truth-Teller compares pairs of truth-telling cases; SIROCCO retrieves relevant past cases and principles when presented with a new ethical dilemma. The computational model underlying Truth-Teller could serve as the basis for an intelligent tutor for ethics.This article is part of a special issue on Machine Ethics.
Index Terms:
machine ethics, casuistry, artificial intelligence, case-based reasoning
Citation:
Bruce M. McLaren, "Computational Models of Ethical Reasoning: Challenges, Initial Steps, and Future Directions," IEEE Intelligent Systems, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 29-37, July-Aug. 2006, doi:10.1109/MIS.2006.67
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