Machine Ethics and Emerging Technologies

Technology is advancing at a faster rate than society’s expectations, and many technologies go from the being the stuff of science-fiction to being consumer-available, with very little in the way of discussion in between. But with the increasing rate of progress comes many questions that are uncomfortable to contemplate, and which may be dangerous to ignore. When should an autonomous vehicle sacrifice itself and its owner to protect others? What happens when medical expert systems work on behalf of insurance agencies rather than patients? What happens when the world’s weapon systems—including combat drones—are able to make lethal decisions without human involvement?

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