The book chapter „The BESTBOT Project“ by Oliver Bendel, David Studer and Bradley Richards was published on 31 December 2019. It is part of the 2nd edition of the „Handbuch Maschinenethik“, edited by Oliver Bendel. From the abstract: „The young discipline of machine ethics both studies and creates moral (or immoral) machines. The BESTBOT is a chatbot that recognizes problems and conditions of the user with the help of text analysis and facial recognition and reacts morally to them. It can be seen as a moral machine with some immoral implications. The BESTBOT has two direct predecessor projects, the GOODBOT and the LIEBOT. Both had room for improvement and advancement; thus, the BESTBOT project used their findings as a basis for its development and realization. Text analysis and facial recognition in combination with emotion recognition have proven to be powerful tools for problem identification and are part of the new prototype. The BESTBOT enriches machine ethics as a discipline and can solve problems in practice. At the same time, with new solutions of this kind come new problems, especially with regard to privacy and informational autonomy, which information ethics must deal with.“ (Abstract) The BESTBOT is an immoral machine in a moral one – or a moral machine in an immoral one, depending on the perspective. The book chapter can be downloaded from link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-3-658-17484-2_32-1.
The 23rd Berlin Colloquium of the Daimler and Benz Foundation took place on May 22, 2019. It was dedicated to care robots, not only from the familiar positions, but also from new perspectives. The scientific director, Prof. Dr. Oliver Bendel, invited two of the world’s best-known machine ethicists, Prof. Dr. Michael Anderson and Prof. Dr. Susan L. Anderson. Together with Vincent Berenz, they had programmed a Nao robot with a series of values that determine its behavior and simultaneously help a person in a simulated elderly care facility. A contribution to this appeared some time ago in the Proceedings of the IEEE. For the first time, they presented the results of this project to a European audience, and their one-hour presentation, followed by a twenty-minute discussion, can be considered a great moment in machine ethics. Other internationally renowned scientists, such as the Japan expert Florian Coulmas, also took part. He dealt with artefacts from Japan and relativized the frequently heard assertion that the Japanese considered all things to be inspired. Several media reported on the Berlin Colloquium, for example Neues Deutschland.
More and more autonomous and semi-autonomous machines such as intelligent software agents, specific robots, specific drones and self-driving cars make decisions that have moral implications. Machine ethics as a discipline examines the possibilities and limits of moral and immoral machines. It does not only reflect ideas but develops artifacts like simulations and prototypes. In his talk at the University of Potsdam on 23 June 2019 („Fundamentals and Artifacts of Machine Ethics“), Prof. Dr. Oliver Bendel outlined the fundamentals of machine ethics and present selected artifacts of moral and immoral machines, Furthermore, he discussed a project which will be completed by the end of 2019. The GOODBOT (2013) is a chatbot that responds morally adequate to problems of the users. The LIEBOT (2016) can lie systematically, using seven different strategies. LADYBIRD (2017) is an animal-friendly robot vacuum cleaner that spares ladybirds and other insects. The BESTBOT (2018) is a chatbot that recognizes certain problems and conditions of the users with the help of text analysis and facial recognition and reacts morally to them. 2019 is the year of the E-MOMA. The machine should be able to improve its morality on its own.
Machine ethics produces moral and immoral machines. The morality is usually fixed, e.g. by programmed meta-rules and rules. The machine is thus capable of certain actions, not others. However, another approach is the morality menu (MOME for short). With this, the owner or user transfers his or her own morality onto the machine. The machine behaves in the same way as he or she would behave, in detail. Together with his teams, Prof. Dr. Oliver Bendel developed several artifacts of machine ethics at his university from 2013 to 2018. For one of them, he designed a morality menu that has not yet been implemented. Another concept exists for a virtual assistant that can make reservations and orders for its owner more or less independently. In the article „The Morality Menu“ the author introduces the idea of the morality menu in the context of two concrete machines. Then he discusses advantages and disadvantages and presents possibilities for improvement. A morality menu can be a valuable extension for certain moral machines. You can download the article here.
Michael und Susan Leigh Anderson stellen beim Berliner Kolloquium 2019 ihre neuesten Ergebnisse aus der Disziplin der Maschinenethik vor. Üblicherweise werden sogenannten moralischen Maschinen starre Regeln gegeben, an die sie sich sozusagen sklavisch halten. Dies hat einige Vorteile, aber auch ein paar Nachteile, denen man mit Hilfe von maschinellem Lernen entgegentreten kann. Genau diesen Ansatz haben die Andersons zusammen mit einem Forscher vom Max-Planck-Institut für Intelligente Systeme verfolgt, wobei die Altenpflege als Kontext diente: „Contrary to those who regard such a goal as unattainable, Michael and Susan Leigh Anderson … and Vincent Berenz … have succeeded in programming a SoftBank Nao robot with a set of values that determines its behavior while aiding a person in a simulated eldercare environment. This unprecedented accomplishment uses machine learning to enable the robot to discern how each of its actions would satisfy or violate its ethical duties in the current situation and decide the best action to take.“ (Machine Ethics) Die Ergebnisse werden 2019 in den Proceedings of the IEEE publiziert. Der wissenschaftliche Leiter des 23. Berliner Kolloquiums zu Pflegerobotern ist Oliver Bendel. Die Anmeldung erfolgt über die Website der Daimler und Benz Stiftung.
Abb.: Ein Nao-Roboter (Foto: SoftBank/Philippe Dureuil, CC-BY-SA-4.0)
„Moral Machines? The Ethics and Politics of the Digital World“ is a symposium organized by two research fellows, Susanna Lindberg and Hanna-Riikka Roine at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. „The aim of the symposium is to bring together researchers from all fields addressing the many issues and problems of the digitalization of our social reality, such as thinking in the digital world, the morality and ethics of machines, and the ways of controlling and manipulating the digital world.“ (Website Symposium) The symposium will take place in Helsinki from 6 to 8 March 2019. It welcomes contributions addressing the various aspects of the contemporary digital world. The organizers are especially interested „in the idea that despite everything they can do, the machines do not really think, at least not like us“. „So, what is thinking in the digital world? How does the digital machine ‚think‘?“ (Website Symposium) Proposals can be sent to the e-mail address email@example.com by 31 August 2018. Decisions will be made by 31 October 2018. Further information is available on https://blogs.helsinki.fi/moralmachines/.
Luís Moniz Pereira und Ari Saptawijaya haben ein Buch geschrieben, das den Titel „Programming Machine Ethics“ trägt. Die relativ junge Disziplin der Maschinenethik wird damit um ein weiteres Grundlagenwerk bereichert. Als Gestaltungsdisziplin ist sie darauf angewiesen, dass konkrete Vorschläge für die Umsetzung unterbreitet werden, in ihrem Falle der Umsetzung moralischer Maschinen. In der Information von Springer heißt es: „This book addresses the fundamentals of machine ethics. It discusses abilities required for ethical machine reasoning and the programming features that enable them. It connects ethics, psychological ethical processes, and machine implemented procedures. From a technical point of view, the book uses logic programming and evolutionary game theory to model and link the individual and collective moral realms. It also reports on the results of experiments performed using several model implementations.“ (Information Springer) Weiter wird erklärt: „Opening specific and promising inroads into the terra incognita of machine ethics, the authors define here new tools and describe a variety of program-tested moral applications and implemented systems. In addition, they provide alternative readings paths, allowing readers to best focus on their specific interests and to explore the concepts at different levels of detail.“ (Information Springer) Weitere Informationen und Bestellung über www.springer.com/de/book/9783319293530.
2015 ist das Buch „Rethinking Machine Ethics in the Age of Ubiquitous Technology“ von Jeffrey White (Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, KAIST, Südkorea) und Rick Searle (IEET, USA) erschienen. Zum Buch schreibt der Verlag Information Science Reference: „Rethinking Machine Ethics in the Age of Ubiquitous Technology blends forward-looking, constructive, and interdisciplinary visions of ethical ideals, aims, and applications of machine technology. This visionary reference work incorporates ethical conversations in the fields of technology, computer science, robotics, and the medical industry, creating a vibrant dialogue between philosophical ideals and the applied sciences. With its broad scope of relevant topics, this book serves as an excellent tool for policymakers, academicians, researchers, advanced-level students, technology developers, and government officials.“ Zu den Themen wird gesagt: „This timely publication features thoroughly researched articles on the topics of artificial moral agency, cyber-warfare, transhumanism, organic neural nets, human worker replacement, automaticity and global governance, security and surveillance, military drones, and more.“ Das Werk hat um die 330 Seiten und kostet ca. 225 Euro.
Eine neue Plattform, ethicalmachines.com, will regelmäßig Podcasts über Menschen, Maschinen und Ethik veröffentlichen. Die Betreiber sind Samim Winiger und Roelof Pieters. Der eine, ursprünglich aus der Schweiz, wohnt in Berlin und twittert über @samim, der andere, Doktorand in Stockholm, über @graphific. Sie schreiben auf ihrer Website: „Ethics is the branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. Machine Ethics is concerned with the moral behavior of artifical intelligent systems and its humans creators, as they design, construct, use and treat such technologies.“ Es geht also um die Maschinenethik, und es geht um ihren Gegenstand, die Moral von Maschinen. Man darf gespannt sein, was die beiden Betreiber zur jungen Disziplin und zur Entwicklung neuartiger Roboter und Geräte beitragen werden.