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Reexamining computer ethics in light of AI systems and AI regulation

Jacobs, Mattis; Simon , Judith

This article argues that the emergence of AI systems and AI regulation showcases developments that have significant implications for computer ethics and make it necessary to reexamine some key assumptions of the discipline. Focusing on design- and policy-oriented computer ethics, the article investigates new challenges and opportunities that occur in this context. The main challenges concern how an AI system’s technical, social, political, and economic features can hinder a successful application of computer ethics. Yet, the article demonstrates that features of AI systems that potentially interfere with successfully applying some approaches to computer ethics are (often) only contingent, and that computer ethics can influence them. Furthermore, it shows how computer ethics can make use of how power manifests in an AI system’s technical, social, political, and economic features to achieve its goals. Lastly, the article outlines new interdependencies between policy- and design-oriented computer ethics, manifesting as either conflicts or synergies.
Published in: AI and Ethics, 10.1007/s43681-022-00229-6, Springer Nature