Schlagworte: Machine Ethics

Neuer Beitrag im Buch zur Maschinenethik

Ende Juni 2018 ist der siebte Beitrag im Handbuch zur Maschinenethik bei Springer erschienen. Er stammt von Oliver Bendel, der auch der Herausgeber ist, und trägt den Titel „Pflegeroboter aus Sicht der Maschinenethik“. Er geht u.a. von Ergebnissen aus dem Buchbeitrag „Surgical, Therapeutic, Nursing and Sex Robots in Machine and Information Ethics“ aus, der 2015 im Springer-Buch „Machine Medical Ethics“ veröffentlicht wurde, erweitert die Fragestellungen zu Pflegerobotern und vertieft die Diskussion darüber. Seit Ende 2016 sitzen renommierte Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler an ihren Kapiteln zum „Handbuch Maschinenethik“. Ende 2018 soll das gedruckte Werk erscheinen. Mit dabei sind etwa Luís Moniz Pereira aus Lissabon, einer der bekanntesten Maschinenethiker der Welt, und Roboterethikerin Janina Loh, die in Wien mit Mark Coeckelbergh zusammenarbeitet. Ein Beitrag der Stuttgarter Philosophin Catrin Misselhorn, die ebenfalls einen hervorragenden Ruf in der Disziplin hat, kommt in wenigen Tagen heraus. Eine Übersicht über die Beiträge, die laufend elektronisch veröffentlicht werden, findet sich über

Abb.: Welche moralischen Regeln soll man dem Pflegeroboter beibringen?

International Workshop on Ethics and AI

The international workshop „Understanding AI & Us“ will take place in Berlin (Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society) on 30 June 2018. It is hosted by Joanna Bryson (MIT), Janina Loh (University of Vienna), Stefan Ullrich (Weizenbaum Institute Berlin) and Christian Djeffal (IoT and Government, Berlin). Birgit Beck, Oliver Bendel and Pak-Hang Wong are invited to the panel on the ethical challenges of artificial intelligence. The aim of the workshop is to bring together experts from the field of research reflecting on AI. The event is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation (VolkswagenStiftung). The project „Understanding AI & Us“ furthers and deepens the understanding of artificial intelligence (AI) in an interdisciplinary way. „This is done in order to improve the ways in which AI-systems are invented, designed, developed, and criticised.“ (Invitation letter) „In order to achieve this, we form a group that merges different abilities, competences and methods. The aim is to provide space for innovative and out-of-the-box-thinking that would be difficult to pursue in ordinary academic discourse in our respective disciplines. We are seeking ways to merge different disciplinary epistemological standpoints in order to increase our understanding of the development of AI and its impact upon society.“ (Invitation letter)

Fig.: Combat robots could also be an issue

Machine Ethics and Artificial Intelligence

The young discipline of machine ethics refers to the morality of semi-autonomous and autonomous machines, robots, bots or software systems. They become special moral agents, and depending on their behavior, we can call them moral or immoral machines. They decide and act in situations where they are left to their own devices, either by following pre-defined rules or by comparing their current situations to case models, or as machines capable of learning and deriving rules. Moral machines have been known for some years, at least as simulations and prototypes. Machine ethics works closely with artificial intelligence and robotics. The term of machine morality can be used similarly to the term of artificial intelligence. Oliver Bendel has developed a graphic that illustrates the relationship between machine ethics and artificial intelligence. He presented it at conferences at Stanford University (AAAI Spring Symposia), in Fort Lauderdale (ISAIM) and Vienna (Robophilosophy) in 2018.

Fig.: The terms of machine ethics and artificial intelligence

Symposium in Helsinki on Moral Machines

„Moral Machines? The Ethics and Politics of the Digital World“ is a symposium organized by two research fellows, Susanna Lindberg and Hanna-Riikka Roine at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. „The aim of the symposium is to bring together researchers from all fields addressing the many issues and problems of the digitalization of our social reality, such as thinking in the digital world, the morality and ethics of machines, and the ways of controlling and manipulating the digital world.“ (Website Symposium) The symposium will take place in Helsinki from 6 to 8 March 2019. It welcomes contributions addressing the various aspects of the contemporary digital world. The organizers are especially interested „in the idea that despite everything they can do, the machines do not really think, at least not like us“. „So, what is thinking in the digital world? How does the digital machine ‚think‘?“ (Website Symposium) Proposals can be sent to the e-mail address by 31 August 2018. Decisions will be made by 31 October 2018. Further information is available on

Humans and Robots Work Hand in Hand

The book chapter „Co-robots from an Ethical Perspective“ by Oliver Bendel was published in March 2018. It is included in the book „Business Information Systems and Technology 4.0“ (Springer). The abstract: „Cooperation and collaboration robots work hand in hand with their human colleagues. This contribution focuses on the use of these robots in production. The co-robots (to use this umbrella term) are defined and classified, and application areas, examples of applications and product examples are mentioned. Against this background, a discussion on moral issues follows, both from the perspective of information and technology ethics and business ethics. Central concepts of these fields of applied ethics are referred to and transferred to the areas of application. In moral terms, the use of cooperation and collaboration robots involves both opportunities and risks. Co-robots can support workers and save them from strains and injuries, but can also displace them in certain activities or make them dependent. Machine ethics is included at the margin; it addresses whether and how to improve the decisions and actions of (partially) autonomous systems with respect to morality. Cooperation and collaboration robots are a new and interesting subject for it.“ The book can be ordered here.

Fig.: Man and robot?


„Robophilosophy 2018 – Envisioning Robots In Society: Politics, Power, And Public Space“ is the third event in the Robophilosophy Conference Series which focusses on robophilosophy, a new field of interdisciplinary applied research in philosophy, robotics, artificial intelligence and other disciplines. The main organizers are Prof. Dr. Mark Coeckelbergh, Dr. Janina Loh and Michael Funk. Plenary speakers are Joanna Bryson (Department of Computer Science, University of Bath, UK), Hiroshi Ishiguro (Intelligent Robotics Laboratory, Osaka University, Japan), Guy Standing (Basic Income Earth Network and School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK), Catelijne Muller (Rapporteur on Artificial Intelligence, European Economic and Social Committee), Robert Trappl (Head of the Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence, Austria), Simon Penny (Department of Art, University of California, Irvine), Raja Chatila (IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in AI and Automated Systems, Institute of Intelligent Systems and Robotics, Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris, France), Josef Weidenholzer (Member of the European Parliament, domains of automation and digitization) and Oliver Bendel (Institute for Information Systems, FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland). The conference will take place from 14 to 17 February 2018 in Vienna. More information via

Fig.: Robophilosophy in Vienna

Green Salon around Robotics and AI

Oliver Bendel was invited by the Green European Foundation to the second edition of the Green Salon around robotics and artificial intelligence in Vienna on the 12th of February 2018. „The Green Salon is an invitation-only event for the Green family and independent experts and thinkers from across Europe, to discuss important topics that will shape the future of the European Union. While research and industry in Europe and beyond have achieved immense progress in recent years, the public and political debate on the moral and legal implications of the use and further development of these new technologies is still in its infancy. A challenging situation, which needs to alarm as well as motivate Greens to meaningfully shape the debate on how we can make sure emerging technologies serve humans appropriately, while remaining under their full control. In particular, the impact of automation on job markets, and of new technologies in general on the very nature and future of work, are at the core of the discussion. Beyond simple adaptation discourses of mainstream media and other political families, the Green Salon aims at taking the debate further for the Greens and their partners.“ (Invitation Letter of the Green European Foundation) The Green European Foundation is a European-level political foundation funded by the European Parliament.

Fig.: To Vienna!

Program of ISAIM Conference

A special session „Formalising Robot Ethics“ takes place within the ISAIM conference in Fort Lauderdale (3 to 5 January 2018). The program is now available and can be viewed on „Practical Challenges in Explicit Ethical Machine Reasoning“ is a talk by Louise Dennis and Michael Fischer, „Contextual Deontic Cognitive Event Calculi for Ethically Correct Robots“ a contribution of Selmer Bringsjord, Naveen Sundar G., Bertram Malle and Matthias Scheutz. Oliver Bendel will present „Selected Prototypes of Moral Machines“. A few words from the summary: „The GOODBOT is a chatbot that responds morally adequate to problems of the users. It’s based on the Verbot engine. The LIEBOT can lie systematically, using seven different strategies. It was written in Java, whereby AIML was used. LADYBIRD is an animal-friendly robot vacuum cleaner that spares ladybirds and other insects. In this case, an annotated decision tree was translated into Java. The BESTBOT should be even better than the GOODBOT.“

The BESTBOT at Stanford University

Machine ethics researches the morality of semiautonomous and autonomous machines. The School of Business at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland FHNW realized a project for implementation of a prototype called GOODBOT, a novelty chatbot and a simple moral machine. One of its meta rules was it should not lie unless not lying would hurt the user. It was a stand-alone solution, not linked with other systems and not internet- or web-based. In the LIEBOT project, the mentioned meta rule was reversed. This web-based chatbot, implemented in 2016, could lie systematically. It was an example of a simple immoral machine. A follow-up project in 2018 is going to develop the BESTBOT, considering the restrictions of the GOODBOT and the opportunities of the LIEBOT. The aim is to develop a machine that can detect problems of users of all kinds and can react in an adequate way. It should have textual, auditory and visual capabilities. The paper “From GOODBOT to BESTBOT” describes the preconditions and findings of the GOODBOT project and the results of the LIEBOT project and outlines the subsequent BESTBOT project. A reflection from the perspective of information ethics is included. Oliver Bendel will present his paper in March 2018 at Stanford University (“AI and Society: Ethics, Safety and Trustworthiness in Intelligent Agents”, AAAI 2018 Spring Symposium Series).

Fig.: What will the BESTBOT look like?

Formalising Robot Ethics

Prof. Dr. Oliver Bendel was invited to give a lecture at the ISAIM special session „Formalising Robot Ethics“. „The International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence and Mathematics is a biennial meeting that fosters interactions between mathematics, theoretical computer science, and artificial intelligence.“ (Website ISAIM) Oliver Bendel will present selected prototypes of moral and immoral machines and will discuss a project planned for 2018. The GOODBOT is a chatbot that responds morally adequate to problems of the users. It’s based on the Verbot engine. The LIEBOT can lie systematically, using seven different strategies. It was written in Java, whereby AIML was used. LADYBIRD is an animal-friendly robot vacuum cleaner that spares ladybirds and other insects. In this case, an annotated decision tree was translated into Java. The BESTBOT should be even better than the GOODBOT. Technically everything is still open. The ISAIM conference will take place from 3 to 5 January 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Further information is available at

Fig.: What should she be able to do?