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A Declarative Modular Framework for Representing and Applying Ethical Principles

Abstract : This paper investigates the use of high-level action languages for designing ethical autonomous agents. It proposes a novel and modular logic-based framework for representing and reasoning over a variety of ethical theories, based on a modified version of the Event Calculus and implemented in Answer Set Programming. The ethical decision-making process is conceived of as a multi-step procedure captured by four types of interdependent models which allow the agent to assess its environment, reason over its accountability and make ethically informed choices. The overarching ambition of the presented research is twofold. First, to allow the systematic representation of an unbounded number of ethical reasoning processes, through a framework that is adaptable and extensible by virtue of its designed hierarchisation and standard syntax. Second, to avoid the pitfall of much research in current computational ethics that too readily embed moral information within computational engines, thereby feeding agents with atomic answers that fail to truly represent underlying dynamics. We aim instead to comprehensively displace the burden of moral reasoning from the programmer to the program itself.
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Contributor : Fiona Berreby <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 9:33:33 AM
Last modification on : Friday, December 13, 2019 - 11:44:05 AM


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  • HAL Id : hal-01564675, version 1


Fiona Berreby, Gauvain Bourgne, Jean-Gabriel Ganascia. A Declarative Modular Framework for Representing and Applying Ethical Principles. 16th Conference on Autonomous Agents and MultiAgent Systems , May 2017, Sao Paulo, Brazil. ⟨hal-01564675⟩



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