Can Artificial Intelligence Help Us Make Better Decisions During a Crisis?

Andrew Serazin: In a Templeton World Charity Foundation (TWCF) sponsored project, Duke University ethicist Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and neuroscientist Jana Schaich Borg have teamed up with psychologists and computer scientists at the university to investigate ways in which AI can be used to aid ethical decision-making. Sinnott-Armstrong argues that artificial intelligence, if trained with the right kind of data, could be a valuable aid in making complicated ethical decisions. Rather than being given control of the decision, the AI is able to learn the patterns of ethical thinking that humans engage in and replicate those with new data sets, only without the interference of outside distractions, sleep deprivation, or complicated emotions that might cloud human decisions. Theoretically, an AI could take the same information a doctor has about her patients, and generate a series of suggestions which could then be used to inform human decision-makers. Instead of ‘outsourcing’ moral decisions to machines, these new tools serve to enhance our innate capacity for moral decision making.

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