Why a Virtual Assistant for Moral Enhancement When We Could have a Socrates?
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Moral enhancementMoral bioenhancementMoral AIenhancementArtificial intelligenceVirtual assistantEthical decision-makingAutonomy
Lara, F. Why a Virtual Assistant for Moral Enhancement When We Could have a Socrates?. Sci Eng Ethics 27, 42 (2021). [https://doi.org/10.1007/s11948-021-00318-5]
SponsorshipState Research Agency of the Spanish Government PID2019-104943RB-I00
Can Artificial Intelligence (AI) be more effective than human instruction for the moral enhancement of people? The author argues that it only would be if the use of this technology were aimed at increasing the individual’s capacity to reflectively decide for themselves, rather than at directly influencing behaviour. To support this, it is shown how a disregard for personal autonomy, in particular, invalidates the main proposals for applying new technologies, both biomedical and AI-based, to moral enhancement. As an alternative to these proposals, this article proposes a virtual assistant that, through dialogue, neutrality and virtual reality technologies, can teach users to make better moral decisions on their own. The author concludes that, as long as certain precautions are taken in its design, such an assistant could do this better than a human instructor adopting the same educational methodology.