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Robot Ethics 2.0From Autonomous Cars to Artificial Intelligence$
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Patrick Lin, Keith Abney, and Ryan Jenkins

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190652951

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190652951.001.0001

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When Robots Should Do the Wrong Thing

When Robots Should Do the Wrong Thing

(p.258) 17 When Robots Should Do the Wrong Thing
Robot Ethics 2.0

Brian Talbot

Ryan Jenkins

Duncan Purves

Oxford University Press

In this chapter, we argue that deontological evaluations do not apply to the actions of robots. If robots are not phenomenally conscious, there is good reason to believe they lack the repertoire of mental capacities required for agency. Deontological requirements apply to a thing only if that thing is a moral agent. For this reason, robots should be consequentialists, even if consequentialism is false. We also argue that this does not necessarily make it permissible to create consequentialist robots, if we could instead create perfect deontological robots. But we are not sure about what true moral theory is, about appropriate trade-offs between rights and utilities, or about the ability of robots to obey moral commands reliably. So we argue that specific forms of uncertainty make it permissible, and sometimes obligatory, to create robots with moral views one thinks are false.

Keywords:   robots, autonomous, ethics, morality, deontological, deontology, maximizing, consequentialism, rights, preface paradox

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