Designing ethical AI in the shadow of Hume’s guillotine

Pertti Saariluoma (Corresponding author), Jaana Leikas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Artificially intelligent systems can collect knowledge regarding epistemic information, but can they be used to derive new values? Epistemic information concerns facts, including how things are in the world, and ethical values concern how actions should be taken. The operation of artificial intelligence (AI) is based on facts, but it require values. A critical question here regards Hume’s Guillotine, which claims that one cannot derive values from facts. Hume’s Guillotine appears to divide AI systems into two ethical categories: weak and strong. Ethically weak AI systems can be applied only within given value rules, but ethically strong AI systems may be able to generate new values from facts. If Hume is correct, ethically strong AI systems are impossible, but there are, of course, no obstacles to designing ethically weak AI systems.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntelligent Human Systems Integration 2020
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Intelligent Human Systems Integration IHSI 2020: Integrating People and Intelligent Systems
EditorsTareq Ahram, Waldemar Karwowski, Alberto Vergnano, Francesco Leali, Redha Taiar
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-39512-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-39511-7
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
Event3rd International Conference on Intelligent Human Systems Integration, IHSI 2020 - Modena, Italy
Duration: 19 Feb 202021 Feb 2020

Publication series

SeriesAdvances in Intelligent Systems and Computing
Volume1131 AISC


Conference3rd International Conference on Intelligent Human Systems Integration, IHSI 2020


  • AI ethics
  • Design
  • Hume’s Guillotine


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