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Which Consequentialism? Machine Ethics and Moral Divergence

Here’s a extended abstract presented at the 2009 Asia-Pacific Conference on Computing and Philosophy by participants in SIAI’s 2009 Visiting Fellows Program that is making the rounds. The point of the paper, which was written by Carl Shulman, Nick Tarleton, and Henrik Jonsson, is that consequentialism as commonly discussed has a number of “free variables” where intuitions disagree about the right values of these variables. Therefore, machine ethics should draw on the emerging field of moral psychology to figure out how to fill in these free variables. This point is plainly put in the title of one of the last sections, “Current moral theories are inadequate for machine ethics”.

A reply from UK philosopher David Pearce has recently been posted by Roko Mijic at Less Wrong.

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