Machine Ethics: The Design and Governance of Ethical AI and Autonomous Systems

Introduction by A.F. Winfield, K. Michael, J. Pitt, V. Evers of Special Issue of Proceedings of the IEEE: “…The primary focus of this special issue is machine ethics, that is the question of how autonomous systems can be imbued with ethical values. Ethical autonomous systems are needed because, inevitably, near future systems are moral agents; consider driverless cars, or medical diagnosis AIs, both of which will need to make choices with ethical consequences. This special issue includes papers that describe both implicit ethical agents, that is machines designed to avoid unethical outcomes, and explicit ethical agents: machines which either encode or learn ethics and determine actions based on those ethics. Of course ethical machines are socio-technical systems thus, as a secondary focus, this issue includes papers that explore the societal and regulatory implications of machine ethics, including the question of ethical governance. Ethical governance is needed in order to develop standards and processes that allow us to transparently and robustly assure the safety of ethical autonomous systems and hence build public trust and confidence….(More)?