Conference Papers  |    |  January 3, 2018

Practical Challenges in Explicit Ethical Machine Reasoning

Conference paper by Louise A. Dennis and Michael Fisher. Presented at  ISAIM 2018 – The International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence and Mathematics. Special Session on Formalising Robot Ethics.


We examine implemented systems for ethical machine reasoning with a view to identifying the practical challenges (as opposed to philosophical challenges) posed by the area. We identify a need for complex ethical machine reasoning not only to be multi-objective, proactive, and scrutable but that it must draw on heterogeneous evidential reasoning. We also argue that, in many cases, it needs to operate in real time and be verifiable. We propose a general architecture involving a declarative ethical arbiter which draws upon multiple evidential reasoners each responsible for a particular ethical feature of the system’s environment. We claim that this architecture enables some separation of concerns among the practical challenges that ethical machine reasoning poses.