What is AI Ethics? Ethics as means of self-regulation and the need for critical reflection


  • Suzana Alpsancar Paderborn University


Ethical guidelines, ethical algorithms, ethical reflection and deliberation, abstraction error, procedural ethics, designing for sociotechnical systems, uncertainty, social coping


In the wake of the recent digital transformation, AI ethics has been put into practice as a means of self-regulation. Current initiatives of ethical self-regulation can be distinguished into different ethical practices, namely ethics as rule setting (codes of conduct), ethics as rule following (value-oriented development), and ethics as rule compliance checking (boards and audits). Drawing from the literature, I demonstrate that these forms of AI ethics are in constant need of normative reflection and deliberation albeit the structural conditions under which they are enacted give very little room to do so. Accordingly, the AI community should think more about how to establish institutional frameworks that can be conducive for cultivating ethics as critical reflection and deliberation.