Attributing agency to automated systems: reflections on human–robot collaborations and responsibility-loci

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Many ethicists writing about automated systems (e.g. self-driving cars and autonomous weapons systems) attribute agency to these systems. Not only that; they seemingly attribute an autonomous or independent form of agency to these machines. This leads some ethicists to worry about responsibility-gaps and retribution-gaps in cases where automated systems harm or kill human beings. In this paper, I consider what sorts of agency it makes sense to attribute to most current forms of automated systems, in particular automated cars and military robots. I argue that whereas it indeed makes sense to attribute different forms of fairly sophisticated agency to these machines, we ought not to regard them as acting on their own, independently of any human beings. Rather, the right way to understand the agency exercised by these machines is in terms of human–robot collaborations, where the humans involved initiate, supervise, and manage the agency of their robotic collaborators. This means, I argue, that there is much less room for justified worries about responsibility-gaps and retribution-gaps than many ethicists think.

TaalEngels
Pagina's1-19
Aantal pagina's19
TijdschriftScience and Engineering Ethics
Volume24
Nummer van het tijdschrift4
DOI's
StatusGepubliceerd - aug 2018

Vingerafdruk

Ethicists
robot
Railroad cars
Robots
responsibility
Robotics
Weapons
human being
weapon
Military
Robot
Responsibility
Car

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    Attributing agency to automated systems : reflections on human–robot collaborations and responsibility-loci. / Nyholm, Sven.

    In: Science and Engineering Ethics, Vol. 24, Nr. 4, 08.2018, blz. 1-19.

    Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftTijdschriftartikelAcademicpeer review

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