Fabio Fossa – The Ethics of A.I: principles (part I)

The Ethics of AI. Principles, Applications, and Feedback.

Fabio Fossa, Institute of Law, Politics and Development, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies

The seminar is intended to offer a wide-ranging introduction to the several intersections between AI and moral thinking. As we already witness today, many tasks that used to be carried out by human beings can be delegated to AI technologies. Such revolutionary impact of AI on social practices has given rise to a new field of ethical reflection commonly known as AI Ethics. In my talk I will focus on its three main research directions. Firstly, I will deal with AI ethics as a form of applied ethics targeted at providing practitioners and stakeholders with principles and methodologies to enforce good practice in the design, construction, advertising, selling, and use of AI. Afterwards I will survey the field of Machine Ethics, the purpose of which is to implement some form of moral reasoning into autonomous technologies such as, for instance, self-driving cars. Finally, I will offer some critical considerations on how the Machine Ethics project feedbacks onto our knowledge concerning human ethics, thus addressing the field of Machine Metaethics. My aim, in conclusion, is to go against the idea of a strong separation between technical and socio-ethical issues in AI and to provide the basic means to navigate this uncharted territory in the belief that only cooperation between computer and social scientists may lead to ethical AI.


This seminar is intended as a “preview” of the course “Social and ethical issues in computer technology”, an elective for the AI curriculum that will be offered in second semester.