Unravelling Responsibility for AI

by   Zoe Porter, et al.

To reason about where responsibility does and should lie in complex situations involving AI-enabled systems, we first need a sufficiently clear and detailed cross-disciplinary vocabulary for talking about responsibility. Responsibility is a triadic relation involving an actor, an occurrence, and a way of being responsible. As part of a conscious effort towards 'unravelling' the concept of responsibility to support practical reasoning about responsibility for AI, this paper takes the three-part formulation, 'Actor A is responsible for Occurrence O' and identifies valid combinations of subcategories of A, is responsible for, and O. These valid combinations - which we term "responsibility strings" - are grouped into four senses of responsibility: role-responsibility; causal responsibility; legal liability-responsibility; and moral responsibility. They are illustrated with two running examples, one involving a healthcare AI-based system and another the fatal collision of an AV with a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona in 2018. The output of the paper is 81 responsibility strings. The aim is that these strings provide the vocabulary for people across disciplines to be clear and specific about the different ways that different actors are responsible for different occurrences within a complex event for which responsibility is sought, allowing for precise and targeted interdisciplinary normative deliberations.


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