Published Sept. 5, 2014 in Machine Medical Ethics (Intelligent Systems, Control and Automation: Science and Engineering) edited by Simon Peter van Rysewyk & Matthijs Pontier
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Implementation of ethics in medical machinery is, necessarily, as machine-dependent as ethics is context-dependent. Fortunately, as with ethics, there are broad implementation guidelines that, if followed, can keep one out of trouble. In particular, ensuring correct codification and documentation of the processes and procedures by which each decision is reached is likely, in the longer view, even more important than the individual decisions themselves. All ethical machines must not only have ethical decision-making rules but also methods to collect data, information and knowledge to feed to those rules; codified methods to determine the source, quality and accuracy of that input; trustworthy methods to recognize anomalous conditions requiring expert human intervention and simple methods to get all of this into the necessary hands in a timely fashion. The key to successful implementation of ethics is determining how best to fulfill these requirements within the limitations of the specific machine.