Artificial intelligence AI and robotics are digital technologies that will have significant impact on the development of humanity in the near future. They have raised fundamental questions about what we should do with these systems, what the systems themselves should do, what risks they involve, and how we can control these. Then AI systems as subjects , i. For each section within these themes, we provide a general explanation of the ethical issues , outline existing positions and arguments , then analyse how these play out with current technologies and finally, what policy consequences may be drawn. Many such concerns turn out to be rather quaint trains are too fast for souls ; some are predictably wrong when they suggest that the technology will fundamentally change humans telephones will destroy personal communication, writing will destroy memory, video cassettes will make going out redundant ; some are broadly correct but moderately relevant digital technology will destroy industries that make photographic film, cassette tapes, or vinyl records ; but some are broadly correct and deeply relevant cars will kill children and fundamentally change the landscape. The task of an article such as this is to analyse the issues and to deflate the non-issues. Some technologies, like nuclear power, cars, or plastics, have caused ethical and political discussion and significant policy efforts to control the trajectory these technologies, usually only once some damage is done. Finally, once we have understood a technology in its context, we need to shape our societal response, including regulation and law. All these features also exist in the case of new AI and Robotics technologies—plus the more fundamental fear that they may end the era of human control on Earth. The ethics of AI and robotics has seen significant press coverage in recent years, which supports related research, but also may end up undermining it: the press often talks as if the issues under discussion were just predictions of what future technology will bring, and as though we already know what would be most ethical and how to achieve that. Press coverage thus focuses on risk, security Brundage et al. The result is a discussion of essentially technical problems that focus on how to achieve a desired outcome. For a problem to qualify as a problem for AI ethics would require that we do not readily know what the right thing to do is. In this sense, job loss, theft, or killing with AI is not a problem in ethics, but whether these are permissible under certain circumstances is a problem. This article focuses on the genuine problems of ethics where we do not readily know what the answers are. A last caveat: The ethics of AI and robotics is a very young field within applied ethics, with significant dynamics, but few well-established issues and no authoritative overviews—though there is a promising outline European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies and there are beginnings on societal impact Floridi et al. Taylor et al. So this article cannot merely reproduce what the community has achieved thus far, but must propose an ordering where little order exists. Perhaps this is because the project of AI is to create machines that have a feature central to how we humans see ourselves, namely as feeling, thinking, intelligent beings. The main purposes of an artificially intelligent agent probably involve sensing, modelling, planning and action, but current AI applications also include perception, text analysis, natural language processing NLP , logical reasoning, game-playing, decision support systems, data analytics, predictive analytics, as well as autonomous vehicles and other forms of robotics P. Stone et al. AI may involve any number of computational techniques to achieve these aims, be that classical symbol-manipulating AI, inspired by natural cognition, or machine learning via neural networks Goodfellow, Bengio, and Courville ; Silver et al. Since ca. Now it is a name to be proud of, a booming industry with massive capital investment Shoham et al. As Erik Brynjolfsson noted, it may allow us to. While AI can be entirely software, robots are physical machines that move. Some robots use AI, and some do not: Typical industrial robots blindly follow completely defined scripts with minimal sensory input and no learning or reasoning around , such new industrial robots are installed each year IFR [OIR]. It is probably fair to say that while robotics systems cause more concerns in the general public, AI systems are more likely to have a greater impact on humanity. Also, AI or robotics systems for a narrow set of tasks are less likely to cause new issues than systems that are more flexible and autonomous. Robotics and AI can thus be seen as covering two overlapping sets of systems: systems that are only AI, systems that are only robotics, and systems that are both. We are interested in all three; the scope of this article is thus not only the intersection, but the union, of both sets. Policy is only one of the concerns of this article.
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