Tracing Moral Agency in Robot Behavior

Report No. ARL-TN-0885
Authors: Robert St Amant, Ralph Brewer, MaryAnne Fields
Date/Pages: May 2018; 23 pages
Abstract: As robots become more common in human society, they will increasingly encounter situations in which their decisions have a moral dimension. It is critical that these robots emulate moral human beings, specifically to avoid actions that would be considered immoral. But should robots be considered moral agents in and of themselves? In this technical note, we argue that robots in their current and near-future form should not be viewed as moral agents. We outline conceptual elements of the process of tracing robot behaviors to human moral agents, with illustrations from the domain of military robotics, where moral considerations are especially important.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: May 1, 2018