Machine Ethics

Machine ethics, sometimes referred to as computational ethics or computational morality, is an application of automated reasoning and reasoning systems to ethics and to ethical reasoning.

Case-based reasoning, the process of solving new problems utilizing the solutions of similar past problems, storing knowledge in cases, has been of use to the design and development of machine ethics systems.  Case-based reasoning includes the components of: retrieval, given a target problem, retrieving from memory the cases relevant to solving it, reuse, mapping a solution from a previous case to the target problem possibly adapting the solution, revision, testing the new solution, and retention, storing as needed resulting knowledge.  The aforementioned components are described in Case-Based Reasoning: Foundational Issues, Methodological Variations, and System Approaches by Agnar Aamodt and Enric Plaza and Retrieval, Reuse, Revision, and Retention in Case-based Reasoning by Ramon López de Mántaras, David McSherry, Derek Bridge, David Leake, Barry Smyth, Susan Craw, Boi Faltings, Mary Lou Maher, Michael T. Cox, Kenneth Forbus, Mark Keane, Agnar Aamodt and Ian Watson.

Argumentation can enhance each component of case-based reasoning and such uses of argumentation can address many of the criticisms of case-based reasoning and of casuistry.

Argumentation formats can facilitate the exchange of knowledge between systems, reasoning systems, case-based reasoning systems and ethical reasoning systems.  Creating and versioning knowledge representation and interchange formats can enhance the interoperability between systems and can enhance the utility of input data, intermediate computation, and output results.  Case-based reasoning cases can additionally be represented and interchanged with standard formats.

The topics resemble those discussed at the PxTP conferences with regard to automated theorem provers.  Multiple ethical reasoning systems should be constructed and conferences and competitions between ethical reasoning systems should be organized, modeled after the successes of automated theorem proving conferences (CADE and CASC).

Machine ethics, computational ethics, computational morality, technologies are applicable to digital textbook development processes.  Just as automated theorem proving and automated reasoning can generate and verify mathematical proofs and scientific explanations, justifications and arguments for mathematics and science digital textbooks, just as automated reasoning can provide and enhance features for such digital textbooks, computational ethics and argumentation technologies, in general, can generate and verify the explanations, justifications and arguments in and can provide and enhance features for the digital textbooks of a broader set of subjects including character, ethics, philosophy, law and law history.

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