Ensuring Safe AI via a Moral Emotion Motivation & Control System

PDF / PowerPoint (part 1, part 2) presented May 18, 2017 at GET 2017 – The Fifth Annual Conference on Governance of Emerging Technologies: Law, Policy and Ethics (Phoenix, AZ)

Abstract:  Humans are absolutely correct to fear current artificial intelligence designs.  Despite considerable interest and research, we are, to our best knowledge, the only ones to claim a design that can be implemented immediately yet not pose an existential risk later.  Other current designs (goal-based systems and systems based upon restrictions) are still trapped back in the days of symbolic logic-based artificial intelligence and would require far more “understanding” than current systems possess to even start functioning.  Worse, most “pure logic” designs overemphasize optimization (which rapidly leads to dangerous “externalities”) – and all seem unable to come up with any reason WHY their systems should choose to behave as humans might desire.

As pointed out by James Q. Wilson (Wilson 1993), the real questions about human behaviors are not why we are so bad but “how and why most of us, most of the time, restrain our basic appetites for food, status, and sex within legal limits, and expect others to do the same.”  The fact that we are generally good, even in situations where social constraints do not apply, Wilson attributes to an evolved “moral sense” that we all possess and are constrained by (just as we wish intelligent machines to be constrained).  We contend that this moral “sense” is actually a motivational and control system based upon emotions as “actionable qualia” – and could and should be implemented in machines as well.