Can Robots Make Ethical Decisions?

Discussion in 'Intelligence & Machines' started by sandy, Sep 21, 2009.

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  1. sandy Banned Banned

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    Robots and computers are often designed to act autonomously, that is, without human intervention. Is it possible for an autonomous machine to make moral judgments that are in line with human judgment?

    This question has given rise to the issue of machine ethics and morality. As a practical matter, can a robot or computer be programmed to act in an ethical manner? Can a machine be designed to act morally?

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20090919/sc_livescience/canrobotsmakeethicaldecisions
     
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  3. amark317 game developer-in-training Registered Senior Member

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    interesting.
    are we talking only certain machines or all machines?
    because if we are talking all machines, would the factory robots feel bad about taking jobs away from people who need them?

    but to answer your question, yes. anything is possible. everything has at least a 0.0000000000001% chance of happening.
     
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  5. sandy Banned Banned

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    Excellent questions and points.
     
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  7. Boogiepop Registered Member

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    Well, I guess you can design AI to make ethical decision but then again it's "created" by humans so to a computer it's only piece of data installed on their hard drive. The computer's action or judgments might seem moral but it just practice the things it was taught by their designers. Like you can make an android smile but it still doesn't mean it feels can feel happiness nor the ability to decide for itself when it's appropriate to laugh.

    Although, I'm not an IT expert.
     
  8. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    1. Maybe
    2. How could you tell?

    Obviously computers today aren't capable of this, but I don't think it's impossible. It would have to be able to learn and ask questions, and it might even question the morality of it's own servitude.
     
  9. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

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    I often wonder if humans aren't robots. How many of our decisions appear to be made based on out ethics - but in reality are pre programed by culture and DNA?
     
  10. sudevkk Registered Senior Member

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    Yes, Why it wont be possible to ?

    We have to believe that, even the human beings are programmed be moral or any other act they do. We may see lot of randomness and unpredictability in the human actions. But is that really unpredictable ?. Physics has already proved that universe is governed by laws, everything here is based on physical laws. The quantum physics adds some probability, and thus some randomness to this laws, but still that doesn't make it unpredictable.

    Now think of a computer system, which is aware of all these laws, and which is very fast enough to make a calculation on them. Cant we predict how a person is going to react ?. To make such a system, what we would require is, thousands of constants and variables which will affect this law. Since the number of variables involved in these laws will be very high, we feel everything is random and unpredictable. But, a serious thought will make us to think that, even the emotions and morality, is just a predictable program, run by our brain.

    So if we have all the universal laws, and all the constants and variables, yes, we may have a robot making Ethical decision.

    And such a Computer should be called "Nature", and the Developer should be called "God".
     
  11. sandy Banned Banned

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    I just find the whole subject fascinating.
     
  12. superstring01 Moderator

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    Our ability to make "ethical decisions" is more to do with complexity than some innate metaphysical gift. Design and build a sufficiently complex silicon brain, which is emotionally aware, and has the same (or superior) calculative skills and I'm certain it would be capable of making the same decision a human would. Flaws and all.

    ~String
     
  13. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    Absolutely not.

    Ethics takes awareness and reasoning and, despite what many "in the field" and many who don't know the difference between Sci Fi and science may tell you, we have yet been unable to produce a machine that can handle either - let alone both.
     
  14. sudevkk Registered Senior Member

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    Yes, we haven't made a system which can handle both. But it doesn't mean that it is not possible to make one.

    The awareness that you speak about, what is awareness ? It is nothing but a calculation of brain where the inputs are your senses, memory, which includes the teachings that you recieved, and the observations you made in your early life. So, what we dont have is a machine which has powerful sensing organs as human, and a memory like human brain, and a processor like brain. But already we have smaller versions of all of them. Why we wont have one in the future ?
     
  15. sandy Banned Banned

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    I'm thinking someone on this forum could create one. We have a lot of smart people here.
     
  16. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    I am not saying that we never will, I just don't see it on the horizon.
    I also don't see any progress at all in that direction.
    We keep making strides in computational power and programatic logic, but we keep going in that same direction - which I think is the incorrect one.
    Those working on this seem to be working under the assumption that the brain works just like a computer and if we can just make one fast enough and write agile enough code we will hit the mark.

    All research points to the fact that our brains do not store discrete memories, rather sensations that are later reconstructed as if to experience the memory again internally.
    Those in the AI field seem to be focusing on the brain, as opposed to the thoughts - which, in my view are distinct synergistic creations of the brain - not simply data.

    Unless and until the AI movement starts heading into this direction (if it is even possible) I don't think we will see this ideal realized.
     
  17. sudevkk Registered Senior Member

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    Seems like you have a point, even though I didn't understand most of your words (Lack of knowledge in the filed

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    ). I would love to learn more.
     
  18. sandy Banned Banned

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    Me too, sud. That's why I like posting this kind of stuff here. Forum members make it make more sense and explain it better than science news stories.
     
  19. sudevkk Registered Senior Member

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    yes sandy,I agree, I also reached here looking for the same.
     
  20. sandy Banned Banned

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    I had to chuckle when I read your post because I was thinking/was going to post the same thing.
     
  21. flameofanor5 Not a cosmic killjoy Registered Senior Member

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    As of now all robots can only do exactly what we tell them to. No more, no less. If we tell them to act like they have feelings or a conscience then they will. But, they will not actually have a consciences or emotions. Next people will be asking if robots can reproduce; only possible in living things. Robots being alive is science fiction.
     
  22. sandy Banned Banned

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    That seems like a pretty simple answer to the question.
     
  23. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    As of now, however there is no good reason why they could not do so in the future, perhaps with a different kind of architecture like a neural net, or quantum computing.
     
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