A Brief Ethical Question

Suppose that technology sufficiently advanced to allow for the creation of artificial intelligence, and self-aware human-like robots were created. Would it be ethical for Christians to create an imitation of the image in the first place, and if so, what would be required ethically in the treatment of such creatures? Could one satisfactorily argue that the appearance and behavior of such automatons, if sufficiently similar to actual humans, preclude the destruction and ill treatment of such creatures on the basis of the impact such ill treatment would have on actual humans in the prosecution of such treatment against the automatons. That is, couldn’t it be reasonably argued that violence against a sufficiently good simulation of humanity detrimentally affect real humans perpetrating such violence, and entrenching negative social behaviors that would not be tolerated or ethical against humans?

  3 comments for “A Brief Ethical Question

  1. October 2, 2009 at 3:28 am

    Define self-aware.

    • October 2, 2009 at 5:28 am

      I mean the ability to understand itself as a distinct entity complete with an identity and that has feelings, beliefs, and rationality in so far as such could be said of sufficiently advanced machines.

  2. October 2, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    I believe that it is part of the nature of the image to create, yet we can not give life. A computer can be self-aware, but does it then have a soul? Animals are self-aware, yet we consume them – most of us do – without a second thought. Self-awareness, then, has little to do with the argument.

    However, the argument centers on the how we would treat our own creation. All we have to do for the ethical considerations is to look at the images which are created everyday, namely children.

    Could it be argued that violence against a simulation, albeit a reasonably good one, amounts to violence against a human? While I doubt that the level of morality of humanity has reached that progression or would would reach it, I hope that we would.

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