“Many think the idea of ethically sensitive machines is a kind of techno-utopian joke. But we are already moving in that direction.”
This is a must-read essay for anyone who designs or builds interactive devices or systems.
“Machines are increasingly operating with minimal human oversight in the same physical spaces as we do.”
Ethical design is a key area of personal and professional interest. This essay by cognitive science philosopher Colin Allen appeared in The New York Times on Christmas Day. Allen discusses the idea of creating artificially intelligent machines with their own morality and ethical systems, as well as the roles of philosophers and engineers in creating them.
The essay addresses ethics, design, robots, systems thinking and more. We may not have intelligent Skynet-like systems yet, but in the age of Apple Siri, Mercedes and Google autonomous cars, and widespread algorithmic decision-making, we can and should apply some of the thoughts in this essay to our work today.