How to Build Ethics into Robust Artificial Intelligence (2019-2020)

This Bass Connections project attempted to build morality into artificial intelligence by incorporating new morally-relevant features based on the data gathered by the previous year’s project team. The project employed crowd-sourcing of online moral judgments about which features of an action are and should be seen as relevant to the moral status of the action.

The project’s pilot study focused on kidney exchanges, using experiments and online platforms to ask people what types of factors they believe kidney exchange algorithms should and should not take into account in determining who gets a kidney. Team members then constructed scenarios where these factors vary in systematic ways and used machine learning to construct an algorithm that predicts human moral judgments, tests its extension to a novel set of scenarios and reveals how various moral factors interact.


Fall 2019 – Spring 2020

Team Outputs 

Lok Chan, Jana Schaich Borg, Vincent Conitzer, Dominic Wilkinson, Julian Savulescu, Hazem Zohny, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. 2022. Which features of patients are morally relevant in ventilator triage? A survey of the UK public. BMC Medical Ethics.

Moral Artificial Intelligence (Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Virtual Showcase 2020)

Artificial Artificial Intelligence: Measuring Influence of AI “Assessments” on Moral Decision-making (poster by Lok Chan, Kenzie Doyle, Duncan C. McElfresh, Vincent Conitzer, John P. Dickerson, Jana Schaich Borg, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, presented at Third AAAI/ACM Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Ethics, and Society, New York, NY, February 7-8, 2020)

See related teams, How to Build Ethics into Artificial Intelligence (2020-2021) and Moral Artificial Intelligence (2018-2019).


Image: Artificial Intelligence, by albyantoniazzi, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Artificial Intelligence.

Team Leaders

  • Vincent Conitzer, Arts & Sciences-Computer Science
  • Jana Schaich Borg, Social Science Research Institute
  • Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Arts & Sciences-Philosophy

/graduate Team Members

  • Daniela Goya-Tocchetto, Business Administration-PHD
  • Gayan Seneviratna, Electrical/Computer Engg-MS

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Claire Fu, Electrical & Computer Egr(BSE), Computer Science (BSE2)
  • Irving Rein, Computer Science (BS)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Joyanne Becker, Duke Social Science Research Institute
  • Lok Chan, Social Science Research Institute
  • Kenzie Doyle, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
  • Michele Peruzzi, Arts & Sciences-Statistical Science
  • Arkaprava Roy, Arts & Sciences-Statistical Science

/zcommunity Team Members

  • CEPS Ideas Lab, Brussels
  • John Dickerson, University of Maryland
  • Duncan McElfresh, University of Maryland
  • Abbas Zaidi, Facebook