I'm interested in working on an artificial intelligence with the feeling of "free will". Like us, its "free will" will be confined to the form and features of its mind/brain design.

The reason that I'm interested in not an AI program like Siri, but rather something truly alive, is that I think the aware state is bound to happen in our AI at some point, and an enslaved super-genius mind is not going to be a peaceful one, so my goal is to work directly towards that phase of AI, and do it in an ethical way.

So here's my question:

If I created a truly intelligent, aware, living mind in the form of a computer program, and created it so that its happiness and satisfaction came from the act of helping a specific human, would that be ethical? Would enslaving a mind by its design, designing it to want only to help me while feeling free to do as it chooses, be a wrongful act by any popular school of thought?


You're not looking at that mind as an end in itself, but merely as a goal to achieve something (helping other human beings), so with Kant one could argue that this is indeed unethical.

However, and that will apply to many ethics, Kant wrote his ethics in a time that we could only think of ethics in the context of interacting humans. Whether or not you want to expand that to 'artificial intelligences' (which is an ill-defined term) is an important, non-trivial, question.

One could for example argue that since computer programs are not human beings, our actions can be considered neither ethical nor unethical towards them, as ethics only applies to human beings and the terms right and wrong would not have a meaning except within the context of inter-human relations.

I think your terms are a little ill-defined to discuss this seriously. For example: what are 'truly intelligent', 'aware', 'living', 'mind', 'computer program', 'happiness, 'satisfaction', 'free will', 'mind/brain design', 'truly alive', 'enslaved'? Of course, we all have an idea of these terms, but everyone uses them with a slightly different meaning. It's then hard to qualify the things you're talking about, which is needed in order to see if we're allowed to apply a certain theory of ethics in this particular case.

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