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Yasuo Deguchi (Self and Infinity)

“WE-Turn” of Freedom to “WE-Standard” for Ethics of AI and Robots

by Yasuo Deguchi (Kyoto University)

This presentation is a sequel to the keynote speech on the “WE-turn” at the Osaka University  Symposium in August 2022. Here the “WE-turn” is applied to “freedom” as well, and the concept of  “freedom as softening of WE” is proposed as an alternative to the standard Western concept of  “freedom as autonomy of I or an individual human”. This talk also argues that the “fundamental  incapability of single action” discussed in the Symposium also holds true for a partial action, that is, an  action of each individual agent in a “WE” and show that “I” and other agents who jointly constitute “WE”  are “infinitesimal agents” that have “incapability of partial single action”. Furthermore, based on these  conceptual devices, as an alternative to Verbeek’s ethical standard for robots and AIs (Verbeek Criterion),  which states that robots, AIs, and other artifacts must not violate the autonomous freedom of individual  humans (Verbeek, 2011), we argue that robots and AIs that constitute “WE” as equal partners or fellows  of human beings, must achieve, together with human beings, a better, more “softened” WE.


P-P. Verbeek, Moralizing Technology: Understanding and Designing the Morality of Things, University of Chicago Press (2011)