Hopes for biasing the odds towards the development of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) that is human-friendly depend on finding and employing ethical theories and practices that can be incorporated successfully in the construction, programming and/or developmental growth, education and mature life world of future AGI. Mainstream ethical theories are ill-adapted for this purpose because of their mono-logical decision procedures which aim at “Golden rule” style principles and judgments which are objective in the sense of being universal and absolute.
A much more helpful framework for ethics is provided by a dialogical approach using conflict resolution and negotiation methods, a “Rainbow rule” approach to diversity, and a notion of objectivity as emergent impartiality. This conflict resolution approach will also improve our chances in dealing with two other problems related to the “Friendly AI” problem, the difficulty of programming AI to be not merely smarter but genuinely wiser and the dilemmas that arise in considering whether AGIs will be friendly to humans out of mere partisanship or out of genuine intent to promote the Good.
While these issues are challenging, a strategy for pursuing and promoting research on them can be articulated and basic legislation and corporate policies can be adopted to encourage their development as part of the project of biasing the odds in favor of Friendly and Wise AGI.
Gray Cox is a professor of history and economics at College of the Atlantic. His publications include a variety of articles on social theory and philosophy and two books: The Will at the Crossroads: A Reconstruction of Kant’s Moral Philosophy (University Press of America, 1983) and The Ways of Peace: A Philosophy of Peace as Action (Paulist Press, 1986).
Cox has collaborated in a variety of projects in community organizing, peace work, election observation and sustainable development. The most recent was serving as translator and narrator for a video documentary on the impact of Hurricane Isidore on the Ejido de San Crisanto, in Yucatán.