Crowdsourced Morality Could Determine the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence

Dom Galeon in Futurism: “As artificial intelligence (AI) development progresses, experts have begun considering how best to give an AI system an ethical or moral backbone. A popular idea is to teach AI to behave ethically by learning from decisions made by the average person.

To test this assumption, researchers from MIT created the Moral Machine. Visitors to the website were asked to make choices regarding what an autonomous vehicle should do when faced with rather gruesome scenarios. For example, if a driverless car was being forced toward pedestrians, should it run over three adults to spare two children? Save a pregnant woman at the expense of an elderly man?

The Moral Machine was able to collect a huge swath of this data from random people, so Ariel Procaccia from Carnegie Mellon University’s computer science department decided to put that data to work.

In a new study published online, he and Iyad Rahwan — one of the researchers behind the Moral Machine — taught an AI using the Moral Machine’s dataset. Then, they asked the system to predict how humans would want a self-driving car to react in similar but previously untested scenarios….

This idea of having to choose between two morally problematic outcomes isn’t new. Ethicists even have a name for it: the double-effect. However, having to apply the concept to an artificially intelligent system is something humankind has never had to do before, and numerous experts have shared their opinions on how best to go about it.

OpenAI co-chairman Elon Musk believes that creating an ethical AI is a matter of coming up with clear guidelines or policies to govern development, and governments and institutions are slowly heeding Musk’s call. Germany, for example, crafted the world’s first ethical guidelines for self-driving cars. Meanwhile, Google parent company Alphabet’s AI DeepMind now has an ethics and society unit.

Other experts, including a team of researchers from Duke University, think that the best way to move forward is to create a “general framework” that describes how AI will make ethical decisions….(More)”.