Final Essay PHIL 134

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Ruihao Zhao
Phil 134
Final Essay
The ethical problem at hand is whether the coder of a robot should be held accountable
for the robot’s action. I believe that the best ethical theory to apply to this case analysis would be
the Justice theory. It only makes sense to choose the only ethical theory that arrives at an ethical
conclusion based on specific comparison between two things. In this case, justice theory can
judge the fairness of the ethical problem by specifically differentiating the difference between
the actions of the coders and those of the robots. While it is true that robots are technically
making decisions on their own accord, we have to realize that the coders of the robots are
ultimately the ones who programed the robot’s thought process and behavior. Robots themselves
have no inherent mental processing power that allows them to make decision the same way
humans do—they cannot tell the difference between right and wrong, moral and immoral. From
a coder’s perspective, robots are merely technologically advanced means to attain a greater end.
They are machines, like cars, computers, and planes, that the humans created to make human
lives easier. If we were to dehumanize robots for a second, and to perceive them as merely
machines operated by a human, then the answer to our ethical problem would be as simple and
equivalent as to why we blame the driver, instead of the car, for causing accidents. It would
absurd to exempt the coders of all responsibility for the robot’s action. Thus, from a justice
perspective, coders should be held accountable for the actions of a robot. A viable solution to this
ethical problem is to simply regulate the type of environment that coders are allowed to release
their robots in. Furthermore, there must be certain level of supervision of the robot’s action.
Since robots do not have the judgement power that humans have, they should not be allowed to
roam unsupervised in nefarious environments such as the dark web. Ultimately, robots are just
tools, the idea of giving robots unnecessary amount of freedom simply does not make any sense.
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