The neuroethics contribution to AI ethics and regulation


The AI ethics research field is growing rapidly. So is the number of guidelines issued to provide operational recommendations to manage the ethical issues raised by AI design, development and implementation. In a recent Neuroethics publication, Michele Farisco, Kathinka Evers and Arleen Salles suggest some of the applied issues covered by these guidelines can in fact be properly assessed only on the basis of a preliminary conceptual analysis. And that embracing neuroethical methodology can help tackle the practical ethical challenges of AI.

Michele Farisco, Photo by Tove Godskesen
Michele Farisco. Photo by Tove Godskesen

“Taking on conceptual analysis and methodologies from neuroethics, AI ethics can precede and more effectively inform actual AI development. As well as complement the practical analysis of the impacts of AI implementation. Which in the end will make AI guidelines more effective, proactive and actionable,” says Michele Farisco, postdoc researcher at Uppsala University’s Centre for Research Ethics & Bioethics, and one of the authors of a recently published Neuroethics article.

According to him and his co-authors, plenty of the conceptual issues raised by developments in artificial intelligence are also raised by brain research. Questions of what intelligence and consciousness really is, as well as what it means to be human. Connecting AI ethics to neuroethics could enrich both discussions. And help solve some of the practical ethical challenges raised.

“The normative, and often principles oriented, discussion about AI will benefit from further integration of conceptual analysis, including analysis of some operative assumptions, what they mean in different contexts, and what their mutual relevance is. This would help avoid misplaced or disproportionate concerns and achieve a more realistic and useful approach to identifying and managing the emerging ethical issues. Taking a joint approach to join issues, and then to advising regulators,” says Michele Farisco. 

By Anna Holm

Farisco M, Evers K, & Salles A, On the Contribution of Neuroethics to the Ethics and Regulation of Artificial Intelligence, Neuroethics, 2022:15;4. DOI: 10.1007/s12152-022-09484-0

Note: This text was orginally published on Ethics Dialogues, a blog about responsible research and innovation practices, ethical and philosophical reflection in the Human Brain Project.

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Last modified: 2022-01-10