Artificial intelligence, ethics, and intergenerational responsibility

  • In more and more situations, artificially intelligent algorithms have to model humans’ (social) preferences on whose behalf they increasingly make decisions. They can learn these preferences through the repeated observation of human behavior in social encounters. In such a context, do individuals adjust the selfishness or prosociality of their behavior when it is common knowledge that their actions produce various externalities through the training of an algorithm? In an online experiment, we let participants’ choices in dictator games train an algorithm. Thereby, they create an externality on future decision making of an intelligent system that affects future participants. We show that individuals who are aware of the consequences of their training on the pay- offs of a future generation behave more prosocially, but only when they bear the risk of being harmed themselves by future algorithmic choices. In that case, the externality of artificially intelligence training induces a significantly higher share of egalitarian decisions in the present.

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Author:Victor Klockmann, Alicia von Schenk, Marie-Claire Villeval
Parent Title (English):SAFE working paper ; No. 335
Series (Serial Number):SAFE working paper (335)
Place of publication:Frankfurt am Main
Document Type:Working Paper
Year of Completion:2021
Year of first Publication:2022
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2022/01/19
Tag:Artificial Intelligence; Externalities; Generations; Morality; Prosociality
Issue:December 21, 2021
Page Number:48
Financial research support from the Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE, the Goethe University Frankfurt, and the LABEX CORTEX (ANR- 11-LABX-0042) of Universite de Lyon, within the program Investissements Avenir (ANR-11-IDEX-007) operated by the French National Research Agency (ANR) is gratefully acknowledged.
Institutes:Wirtschaftswissenschaften / Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Wissenschaftliche Zentren und koordinierte Programme / House of Finance (HoF)
Wissenschaftliche Zentren und koordinierte Programme / Center for Financial Studies (CFS)
Wissenschaftliche Zentren und koordinierte Programme / Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe (SAFE)
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 33 Wirtschaft / 330 Wirtschaft
JEL-Classification:C Mathematical and Quantitative Methods / C4 Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics / C49 Other
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht