If AI ethical advice is as good as human advice, what is its role?


A very interesting paper The AI Ethicist: Fact or Fiction? reports that there is “no significant difference in the perceived value of the advice between human generated ethical advice and AI-generated ethical advice”.

In fact the random (as opposed to professional ethicist or MBA student) subjects preferred the AI advice, the paper suggests because AI is generally very agreeable.

The question is what is the role of AI in human ethical decisions?

I have long said that ethics is a distinctly human capability and ever-more important as our actions shape the future of humanity. If AI can provide ethical guidance that is as good as human input, it is extremely valuable.

Yet it is, of course, not a substitute.

Advice is not the same as making choices. Our ethical decision-making can be enhanced through better advice, or access to advice.

Access to a professional ethicist may not always be available, but AI is readily accessible.

The principle of not entirely relying on advice from machines (or humans) remains crucial. Nevertheless, high-quality input is invaluable in shaping our thinking and choices, both as individuals and as a society.

From here we need to work out the role of AI in our ethical decision-making. Do we use it at all? Where do we draw on its input? How do we weight that?

From a bigger frame, given the import of our ethical decisions today, how do we use all available resources – including AI – to shape a better future?