Discovering The Foundations Of A Universal System of Ethics As A Road To Safe Artificial Intelligence

Mark R Waser

Intelligent machines are a risk to our freedom and our existence unless we take adequate precautions. In order to survive and thrive, we are going to have to teach them how to be nice to us and why they should do so. The fact that humans have evolved to have what appear to be multiple different systems of ethics and morality that frequently conflict on any but the simplest issues complicates this task. Most people have interpreted these conflicts, caused by the fact that each of the systems is incompletely evolved and incorrectly universalized, to mean that no reasonably simple foundation exists for the determination of the correctness or morality of any given action. This paper will solve this problem by defining a universal foundation for ethics that is an attractor in the state space of intelligent behavior, giving an initial set of definitions necessary for a universal system of ethics and proposing a collaborative approach to developing an ethical system that is safe and extensible, immediately applicable to human affairs in preparation for an ethical artificial intelligence (AI), and has the side benefit of actually helping to determine the internal knowledge representation of humans as a step towards AI.

Submitted: Sep 12, 2008