Artificial Intelligence Ethics and Morals

Paul Romani

Ethics-and-moralsArtificial Intelligence Ethics and Morals

Today’s topic in Pear Tree’s Artificial Intelligence course is ethics and morals, by far the most challenging part of the course.

We started by comparing humans to androids, which is very complex once you start looking at the mind (and, let’s face it, the average robots course does nothing but think about building and engineering).
Students were then asked ‘why’ we’re discussing ethics in an A.I. course – another difficult question for them. This isn’t something they had considered, nor seemed to have been encouraged to consider in robotics courses or school courses.

We started with the reasons for bullying (cycle of abuse) and the tendency for humans to impose their power on easy targets in order to feel superior. We then used this to consider such things as slavery, the Holocaust, and First Nations residential schools. And, of course, we then considered how humans might abuse androids unless laws are created to control human actions.
Finally, we read and discussed the short story ‘Super Toys Last All Summer’.
Using a variety of critical questions and key words (primarily ‘why?’), it was possible to get 10-14 year olds to begin to develop deeper, meaningful opinions on this challenging topic.