Wendell Wallach on machine morality

June 04, 2011

Periodic crises in which technology is complicit will moderate the more optimistic belief that there is a technological fix for every challenge. […]

An agent must have sentience and feel pleasure and pain for us to have obligations to it. Given society's lack of concern for great apes and other creatures with consciousness and emotions, the bar for being morally responsible to (ro)bots is likely to be set very high. […]

Our evolutionary and cultural ancestry has bequeathed us with an adaptive toolbox of propensities that compensate for each other. These compensating propensities may fail us at times. But I personally lament the pathologizing of human nature and the aggrandizing of what future (ro)bots might achieve. Our flaws and our strengths are one and the same. We humans are indeed remarkable creatures.

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