Ethics for AI and Robotics (EECS 598/498, ROB 599)

Course Description

Intelligent robots are becoming ever more present in our lives (think of self-driving cars) and ever more sophisticated. This raises two kinds of important questions.

First, like any other powerful technology (e.g. nuclear power, genetic engineering), there are important ethical questions about how AI and robotics technology can and should be deployed, and what its impact will be on society. This topic includes regulations, and the processes by which regulations are proposed, adopted, and enforced.

Second, unlike other technologies, AI (and thus intelligent robotics) involves creating agents that make their own decisions about how to act in the world. Ethics is a kind of foundational knowledge that humans use to decide how to act. We need to understand the structure of that knowledge, so the AIs we create will have the knowledge they need to act appropriately.

Course Format

We are going to try to meet the needs of several distinct audiences with overlapping courses.

Since we will be drawing on insights from multiple researchers with different perspectives, it is important for anyone working in this area to remember the important lesson of The Blind Men and the Elephant. We will gather clues where we can, to infer what our "elephant" looks like.


BJK