Machine Ethics

Front Cover
Michael Anderson, Susan Leigh Anderson
Cambridge University Press, May 9, 2011 - Computers
The new field of machine ethics is concerned with giving machines ethical principles, or a procedure for discovering a way to resolve the ethical dilemmas they might encounter, enabling them to function in an ethically responsible manner through their own ethical decision making. Developing ethics for machines, in contrast to developing ethics for human beings who use machines, is by its nature an interdisciplinary endeavor. The essays in this volume represent the first steps by philosophers and artificial intelligence researchers toward explaining why it is necessary to add an ethical dimension to machines that function autonomously, what is required in order to add this dimension, philosophical and practical challenges to the machine ethics project, various approaches that could be considered in attempting to add an ethical dimension to machines, work that has been done to date in implementing these approaches, and visions of the future of machine ethics research.

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General Introduction
Part I The Nature of Machine Ethics
Part II The Importance of Machine Ethics
Part III Issues Concerning Machine Ethics
Part IV Approaches to Machine Ethics
Part V Visions for Machine Ethics

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About the author (2011)

Michael Anderson is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Hartford, Connecticut. His interest in further enabling machine autonomy led him, first, to investigate how a computer might deal with diagrammatic information, work that was funded by the National Science Foundation. This interest has currently resulted in his establishing machine ethics as a bona fide field of scientific inquiry with Susan Leigh Anderson. He maintains the Machine Ethics website (

Susan Leigh Anderson is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut. Her specialty is applied ethics, most recently focusing on biomedical ethics and machine ethics. She has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and, with Michael Anderson, from NASA and the NSF. She is the author of three books in the Wadsworth Philosophers Series, as well as numerous articles.