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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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Testing the Moral Status of Artificial Beings; or “I’m Going to Ask You Some Questions …”

Testing the Moral Status of Artificial Beings; or “I’m Going to Ask You Some Questions …”

(p.293) 19 Testing the Moral Status of Artificial Beings; or “I’m Going to Ask You Some Questions …”
Robot Ethics 2.0

Michael LaBossiere

Oxford University Press

While sophisticated artificial beings are still the stuff of science fiction, it is reasonable to address the challenge of determining the moral status of such systems now. Since humans have spent centuries discussing the ethics of humans and animals, a sensible shortcut is to develop tests for matching artificial beings with existing beings and assigning them a corresponding moral status. While there are a multitude of moral theories addressing the matter of status, the focus is on two of the most common types. The first comprises theories based on reason (exemplified by Kant). The second comprises theories based on feeling (exemplified by Mill). Regardless of the actual tests, there will always be room for doubt. To address this, three arguments are presented in favor of the presumption of status, similar to that of the presumption of innocence in the legal system.

Keywords:   autonomous, ethics, moral status, other minds, emotion, sentience, mental capacities, rationality, language, Turing Test

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