From coder to creator : responsibility issues in intelligent artifact design

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Abstract

Creation of autonomously acting, learning artifacts has reached a point where humans cannot any more be justly held responsible for the actions of certain types of machines. Such machines learn during operation, thus continuously changing their original behaviour in uncontrollable (by the initial manufacturer) ways. They act without effective supervision and have an epistemic advantage over humans, in that their extended sensory apparatus, their superior processing speed and perfect memory render it impossible for humans to supervise the machine's decisions in real-time. We survey the techniques of artificial intelligence engineering, showing that there has been a shift in the role of the programmer of such machines from a coder (who has complete control over the program in the machine) to a mere creator of software organisms which evolve and develop by themselves. We then discuss the problem of responsibility ascription to such machines, trying to avoid the metaphysical pitfalls of the mind-body problem. We propose five criteria for purely legal responsibility, which are in accordance both with the findings of contemporary analytic philosophy and with legal practise. We suggest that Stahl's (2006) concept of "quasi-responsibility" might also be a way to handle the responsibility gap.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research on Technoethics
PublisherIGI Global
Pages635-650
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781605660226
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2009

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