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From the Centre for Medical Humanities:
“We are delighted to offer Simon van Rysewyk and Matthijs Pontier‘s progressive new book ‘Machine Medical Ethics’ for review (Springer, 2015). Expressions of interest are welcome from all angles of the medical humanities, and may be of particular interest to those working at the intersection of medical ethics and clinical innovation.
The essays in this book, written by researchers from both humanities and sciences, describe various theoretical and experimental approaches to adding medical ethics to a machine in medical settings.
Medical machines are in close proximity with human beings, and getting closer: with patients who are in vulnerable states of health, who have disabilities of various kinds, with the very young or very old, and with medical professionals. In such contexts, machines are undertaking important medical tasks that require emotional sensitivity, knowledge of medical codes, human dignity, and privacy. As machine technology advances, ethical concerns become more urgent: should medical machines be programmed to follow a code of medical ethics? What theory or theories should constrain medical machine conduct? What design features are required? Should machines share responsibility with humans for the ethical consequences of medical actions? How ought clinical relationships involving machines to be modeled? Is a capacity for empathy and emotion detection necessary? What about consciousness?
This collection is the first book to address these 21st-century concerns.
If you would like to write a review on ‘Machine Medical Ethics’ (approximately 1,000-1,500 words in length), then please email our reviews editor with a short explanation of why you are well placed to review the book.”
The perceived weaknesses of philosophical normative theories as machine ethic candidates have led some philosophers to consider combining them into some kind of a hybrid theory. This chapter develops a philosophical machine ethic which integrates “top-down” normative theories (rule-utilitarianism and prima-facie deontological ethics) and “bottom-up” (case-based reasoning) computational structure. This hybrid ethic is tested in a medical machine whose input-output function is treated as a simulacrum of professional human ethical action in clinical medicine. In six clinical medical simulations run on the proposed hybrid ethic, the output of the machine matched the respective acts of human medical professionals. Thus, the proposed machine ethic emerges as a successful model of medical ethics, and a platform for further developments.