Immune Moral Models? Pro-Social Rule Breaking as a Moral Enhancement Approach for Ethical AI

06/17/2021 ∙ by Rajitha Ramanayake, et al. ∙ 0

The world is heading towards a state in which Artificial Intelligence (AI) based agents make most decisions on behalf of humans. From healthcare decision making to social media censoring, these agents face problems and make decisions that have ethical and societal implications. Hence, ethical behaviour is a critical characteristic of a human-centric AI. A common observation in human-centric industries, like the service industry and healthcare, is that their professionals tend to break rules, if necessary, for pro-social reasons. To make AI agents more human-centric, we argue that there is a need for a mechanism that helps AI agents to identify when and how to break rules set by their designers. In this paper, we examine the when, i.e., conditions under which humans break rules for pro-social reasons. In the presented study, we introduce a 'vaccination strategy dilemma' where one needs to decide whether they would distribute Covid-19 vaccines only to members of a high-risk group (follow the rule) or, in selected cases, administer the vaccine to a few social influencers (break the rule), which might yield an overall greater benefit to society. Results of the empirical study suggest a relationship between stakeholder utilities and pro-social rule breaking (PSRB), which either deontological or utilitarian ethics cannot completely explain. Finally, the paper discusses the design characteristics of an ethical agent capable of PSRB and the future research directions on PSRB in the AI realm.

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