A Review and Introduction to New Aspects of Digital and Computational Approaches to Human and AI Ethics

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Hector Zenil

Subject: Arts & Humanities, Philosophy

Keywords: philosophy of information; organised complexity; Kolmogorov complexity; logical depth; ethics of information; computational ethics; infoethics; machine ethics; computational complexity

I review previous attempts, including recent ones, to introduce technical aspects of digital information and computation into the discussion of ethics. I survey some limitations and advantages of these attempts to produce guiding principles at different scales. In particular, I briefly introduce and discuss questions, approaches, challenges, and limitations based on, or related to, simulation, information theory, integrated information, computer simulation, intractability, algorithmic complexity, and measures of computational organisation and sophistication. I discuss and propose a set of features that ethical frameworks must possess in order to be considered well-grounded, both in theoretical and methodological terms. I will show that while global ethical frameworks that are uncomputable are desirable because they provide non-teleological direction and open-ended meaning, constrained versions should be able to provide guidelines at more local and immediate time scales. In connection to the ethics of artificial intelligence, one point that must be underscored about computational approaches is that (General) AI should only embrace an ethical framework that we humans are willing to adopt. I think that such a framework is possible, taking the form of a general and universal (in the sense of computation) framework built from first computational principles.


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