My sentiment about the role of engaging existing literature on machine ethics is analogous to what you describe in a recent post on your blog. Particularly this:

Oh God, you think. That’s where the level of discussion is, on this planet.

You either push the boundaries, or fight the good fight. And the good fight is best fought by writing textbooks and opening schools, not by public debates with distinguished shamans. But it's not entirely fair, since some of machine ethics addresses a reasonable problem of making good-behaving robots, which just happens ... (read more)

Sure. One of the hopes of my book is, as stated earlier, to bring people up to where Eliezer Yudkowsky was circa 2004.

Also, I worry that something is being overlooked by the LW / SIAI community because the response to suggestions in the literature has been so quick and dirty. I'm on the prowl for something that's been missed because nobody has done a thorough literature search and detailed rebuttal. We'll see what turns up.

A Brief Overview of Machine Ethics

by lukeprog 1 min read5th Mar 201191 comments


Earlier, I lamented that even though Eliezer named scholarship as one of the Twelve Virtues of Rationality, there is surprisingly little interest in (or citing of) the academic literature on some of Less Wrong's central discussion topics.

Previously, I provided an overview of formal epistemology, that field of philosophy that deals with (1) mathematically formalizing concepts related to induction, belief, choice, and action, and (2) arguing about the foundations of probability, statistics, game theory, decision theory, and algorithmic learning theory.

Now, I've written Machine Ethics is the Future, an introduction to machine ethics, the academic field that studies the problem of how to design artificial moral agents that act ethically (along with a few related problems). There, you will find PDFs of a dozen papers on the subject.