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Licensed to Kill: Autonomous Weapons as Persons and Moral Agents

25-12-2020 12:50

Alkis Gounaris and George Kosteletos
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Abstract: The debate over the attribution of personhood to non-human entities is of an increasing concern to both academia and institutions. The intelligence, autonomy and efficiency exhibited by modern AI systems, raise pressing questions regarding the moral responsibility issues their use entails. In our paper we focus our discussion on autonomous war machines, as their actions touch upon issues of life and death and their design, production and use cause philosophical controversies. Prompted by the classic position of Daniel Dennett, defending the possibility that autonomous intelligent systems are responsible for their actions, we consider a) the argument of cognitive and / or functional equivalence of humans and machines, b) the argument of autonomy as such and c) the argument of excessive efficiency of the actions of intelligent machines. Our investigation upholds a skeptical stance towards the issue of recognition of moral personhood, while illuminating aspects such as the difference between cognition and intelligence, the necessary and sufficient conditions that imply moral responsibility and the differences between the ontological and the epistemological examination of the above problems. Finally, the contradiction between the demand for clear and solid decision-making criteria and the endless nature of a philosophical analysis that strives to be consistent is emphasized.

Keywords: artificial intelligence, autonomy, moral personhood, autonomous weapons, human – machine intelligence equivalence

DOI: https://doi.org/10.12681/aprlp.49.925

Gounaris, Α., Kosteletos, G. (2020). Licensed to Kill: Autonomous Weapons as Persons and Moral Agents. In Prole, D. and Rujević, G. (ed.). Personhood. Novi Sad, Filozofski Fakultet & The NKUA Applied Philosophy Research Lab Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.12681/aprlp.49.916. Retrieved [25/12/2020] from https://alkisgounaris.gr/en/archives/licensed-to-kill-autonomous-weapons-as-persons-and-moral-agents/

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