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Exploring ethics for machines

September 5, 2012

“If we admit the animal should have moral consideration, we need to think seriously about the machine.”

That’s how Northern Illinois University Professor David Gunkel puts it, discussing whether and to what extent intelligent and autonomous machines that we are devloping can be considered to have legitimate moral responsibilities and any legitimate claim to moral treatment.

In his new book The Machine Question: Critical Perspectives on AI, Robots, and Ethics, he examines these questions, being inspired by the fact that engineers and scientists are increasingly bumping up against important ethical questions related to machines.

“The real danger is if we don’t have these conversations,” Gunkel says, according to, adding:

“Historically, we have excluded many entities from moral consideration and these exclusions have had devastating effects for others.”

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One Comment
  1. Some useful (and political) additional thoughts:
    Yannick Rumpala, Artificial intelligences and political organization: an exploration based on the science fiction work of Iain M. Banks, Technology in Society, Volume 34, Issue 1, 2012,
    (Free older version available at: )

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