The ethical regulator theorem provides a basis for systematically evaluating and improving the adequacy of existing or proposed designs for systems that make decisions that can have ethical consequences; regardless of whether the regulating agents are humans, machines, cyberanthropic hybrids, organizations, corporations, or government institutions.
The theorem builds upon the law of requisite variety and the good regulator theorem to define nine requisites that are necessary and sufficient for a cybernetic regulator to be both effective and ethical:
Of these nine requisites, only the first six are necessary for a regulator to be effective. If a system does not need to be ethical, the three requisites ethics, integrity, and transparency are optional.
- Purpose expressed as unambiguously prioritized goals.
- Truth about the past and present.
- Variety of possible actions.
- Predictability of the future effects of actions.
- Intelligence to choose the best actions.
- Influence on the system being regulated.
- Ethics expressed as unambiguously prioritized rules.
- Integrity of all subsystems.
- Transparency of ethical behaviour.
Ethical Design Process
Any existing design process can be made ethical by using the Ethical Regulator Theorem (ERT) as a decision function for acceptance testing of the requirements and specifications. This ensures that the design process can only produce systems that are ethically adequate:
A six-level framework is proposed for classifying cybernetic and superintelligent systems, which highlights a future time-line bifurcation that results in one of two mutually exclusive outcomes:
- The human race is protected by superintelligent, ethically adequate "Super-Ethical" systems.
- The human race is dominated by superintelligent, ethically inadequate "Super-Unethical" systems.
For more information about these and many other aspects of the Ethical Regulator Theorem, see the PDF: Ethical Regulators and Super-Ethical Systems.
W. Ross Ashby Digital Archive
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