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Moral agency without responsibility? : Analysis of three ethical models of human-computer interaction in times of artificial intelligence (AI)

Title data

Fritz, Alexis ; Brandt, Wiebke ; Gimpel, Henner ; Bayer, Sarah:
Moral agency without responsibility? : Analysis of three ethical models of human-computer interaction in times of artificial intelligence (AI).
In: De Ethica. (2020) .
ISSN 2001-8819

Official URL: Volltext

Project information

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Projektgruppe WI Künstliche Intelligenz
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Abstract in another language

Philosophical and sociological approaches in technology have increasingly shifted toward describing AI (artificial intelligence) systems as “(moral) agents,” while also attributing “agency” to them. It is only in this way – so their principal argument goes – that the effects of technological components in a complex human-computer interaction can be understood sufficiently in phenomenological-descriptive and ethical-normative respects. By contrast, this article aims to demonstrate that an explanatory model only achieves a descriptively and normatively satisfactory result if the concepts of "(moral) agent" and "(moral) agency" are exclusively related to human agents. Initially, the division between symbolic and sub-symbolic AI, the black box character of (deep) machine learning, and the complex relationship network in the provision and application of machine learning are outlined. Next, the ontological and action-theoretical basic assumptions of an “agency” attribution regarding both the current teleology-naturalism debate and the explanatory model of actor network theory are examined. On this basis, the technical-philosophical approaches of Luciano Floridi, Deborah G. Johnson, and Peter-Paul Verbeek will all be critically discussed. Despite their different approaches, they tend to fully integrate computational behavior into their concept of “(moral) agency.” By contrast, this essay recommends distinguishing conceptually between the different entities, causalities, and relationships in a human-computer interaction, arguing that this is the only way to do justice to both human responsibility and the moral significance and causality of computational behavior.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Moral agency; human-computer interaction; artificial intelligence; responsibility; technical philosophy
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Law, Business and Economics > Department of Business Administration
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Affiliated Institutes
Research Institutions > Affiliated Institutes > Fraunhofer Project Group Business and Information Systems Engineering
Research Institutions > Affiliated Institutes > FIM Research Center Finance & Information Management
Faculties > Faculty of Law, Business and Economics
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 000 Computer Science, information, general works > 004 Computer science
300 Social sciences > 330 Economics
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2020 06:32
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 06:32