|Intelligent Systems And Their Societies||Walter Fritz|
Why do we need Ethics as a science?
In today's global village, businessmen and political leaders often have to deal with persons from far places on this earth, having another religion and a different ethics. For these cases a science of ethics, not based on religion, is urgently needed. Even everyday contacts with others will be more successful when a scientific ethics is applied.
The basis for this science is the "intelligent system". We define an intelligent system as one that learns how to act in order to reach its own objectives, that senses its environment, and using its experience, selects an action and does it.
Ethics, nowadays, is often based on religious teachings, but these are about 2000 years old and not always sufficiently clear and precise to be applicable to present day conditions. For instance: Is it correct to kill mosquitoes? To kill cows for meat? To execute a convict? To kill an enemy on the battlefield? How should an enterprise handle its competition, its clients, its suppliers? How should an employee treat his employer and inversely? How should one treat ex convicts? How should a nation treat an ex enemy?
All these questions are important and concern frequently met situations. The answers that religious teachings give us, are vague. On the other hand, ethics is sometimes based on moral feelings and traditions of a society. However technology changes very fast and moral feelings and traditions change only very slowly. So they are not up to date for present day conditions.
It seems that an ethics not based on authority (on something another person said), but based on an experimental science that can be verified and improved, would be a much better tool for daily use by persons, enterprises and nations. It would lead to more consistently beneficial results. At the same time, this would make the science of ethics universal, applicable by all IS's to all others. This includes human beings, higher animals, robots, primitive tribes, business enterprises, nations and visiting extraterrestrials. (Because, if extraterrestrials can reach us, they are intelligent, and surely they are systems, so they are IS's).
In the following we make a first try at starting a science of ethics. In persons, it is difficult to observe how they select objectives and responses. But we can easily observe the workings of artificial IS's in great detail. Therefore we will first develop this science of ethics for the artificial IS and only later see if it is applicable to all other IS's, including human beings.
For continuous reading, like a book - continue
Jump to the e-book Contents / Ethics as a Science document / top of this page.
Copyright © New Horizons Press