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Uploaded Writing Guide and lecture notes of all the ethical theories we talked about.
Consider the following scenario: Xavier is a scientist who has just achieved the greatest goal of artificial intelligence research, which is to create a robot that is functionally indistinguishable from a human person. The robot, called “Dee,” can explain its own original thoughts, engage in the same conversation just like people, act intentionally and express preferences. What’s more, Dee also expresses typical emotions in response to being treated harmfully or disrespectfully.
Xavier has always viewed Dee as only a mechanical device, albeit a very advanced one. He intends to continue working on his AI project, and he thinks there are some ways of improving the design of the system that he called “Dee.” So he intends to disassemble Dee, reassemble some of its parts, make some changes, and replace Dee with the next generation. Before he does this, though, he intends to do some experiments on Dee that no one would be allowed to perform on humans. Specifically, he wants to find out whether continuously frustrating, restraining, abusing, or torturing the robot would produce patterns of behavior typical of what humans refer to as trauma and depression.
Experiments like these might be very informative, but would they be morally wrong? Does the answer depend on facts about Dee? Which facts would these be? In addressing this scenario, you might need to take Xavier’s uncertainty about some aspects of the situation—and ours—into consideration.
For your paper, first develop arguments both for and against the action Xavier is considering—at least one for and at least one against—using one of the following theories: Utilitarianism, Kant’s deontological theory, Ross’s intuitionism, or Aristotelian virtue ethics. What would be some reasons for or against Xavier’s action, according to the theory you chose? What do you think an advocate of that theory should conclude about the ethics of Xavier’s action, and why?
Next, compare your analysis of this situation, under the theory you chose to discuss, to a comparable analysis under one of the other theories you didn’t choose. What answer would this other theory imply about the rightness/wrongness of the action, and why?
Finally, which of the two ethical theories do you think offers a better analysis of this situation, and why? Does your analysis of this scenario imply that one theory is generally better than the other, or is there something unique about their analysis of this situation? Is one of the two theories better for answering a question like this, and if so, why do you think this is true?