Abstract. AI Ethics is a burgeoning and relatively new field that has emerged in response to growing concerns about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on human individuals and their social institutions. In turn, AI ethics is a part of the broader field of digital ethics, which addresses similar concerns generated by the development and deployment of new digital technologies. Here, we tackle the important worry that digital ethics in general, and AI ethics in particular, lack adequate philosophical foundations. In direct response to that worry, we formulate and rationally justify some basic concepts and principles for digital ethics/AI ethics, all drawn from a broadly Kantian theory of human dignity. Our argument, which is designed to be relatively compact and easily accessible, is presented in ten distinct steps: (1) what “digital ethics” and “AI ethics” mean, (2) refuting the dignity-skeptic, (3) the metaphysics of human dignity, (4) human happiness or flourishing, true human needs, and human dignity, (5) our moral obligations with respect to all human real persons, (6) what a natural automaton or natural machine is, (7) why human real persons are not natural automata/natural machines: because consciousness is a form of life, (8) our moral obligations with respect to the design and use of artificial automata or artificial machines, aka computers, and digital technology more generally, (9) what privacy is, why invasions of digital privacy are morally impermissible, whereas consensual entrances into digital privacy are either morally permissible or even obligatory, and finally (10) dignitarian morality versus legality, and digital ethics/AI ethics. We conclude by asserting our strongly-held belief that a well-founded and generally-accepted dignitarian digital ethics/AI ethics is of global existential importance for humanity.
Digital ethics,AI Ethics
February 26th, 2021
Philosophical foundations for digital ethics and AI Ethics: a dignitarian approach
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