The attempt to find consistent moral values for certain societies has been part of descriptive as well as normative ethical considerations at least since Socrates’ philosophical investigations. In this sense I call the content of some current discussions on the possibility of moral decision-making ability in intelligent machines, robots or computer programs (in accordance with corresponding ethical criteria) old wine in new bottles – since such attempts deal with questions which have already been raised in early philosophical writings. The second main claim in this article is, that most approaches of ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI) currently tend to talk about AI in general which can, as will be shown, likely lead to either misunderstandings or irrelevant statements which are neither useful for ethical debates nor for technical realizations.
This book discusses major issues of the current AI debate from the perspectives of philosophy, theology, and the social sciences: Can AI have a consciousness? Is superintelligence possible and probable? How does AI change individual and social life? Can there be artificial persons? What influence does AI have on religious worldviews? In Western societies, we are surrounded by artificially intelligent systems. Most of these systems are embedded in online platforms. But embodiments of AI, be it by voice or by actual physical embodiment, give artificially intelligent systems another dimension in terms of their impact on how we perceive these systems, how they shape our communication with them and with fellow humans and how we live and work together. AI in any form gives a new twist to the big questions that humanity has concerned herself with for centuries: What is consciousness? How should we treat each other - what is right and what is wrong? How do our creations change the world we are living in? Which challenges do we have to face in the future?