The Ethical Regulator Theorem

The Ethical Regulator Theorem (ERT) provides a basis for systematically evaluating 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 the following nine requisites that are necessary and sufficient for a cybernetic regulator to be both effective and ethical:

  1. Truth about the past and present.
  2. Variety of possible actions.
  3. Predictability of the future effects of actions.
  4. Purpose expressed as unambiguously prioritized goals.
  5. Ethics expressed as unambiguously prioritized rules.
  6. Intelligence to choose the best actions.
  7. Influence on the system being regulated.
  8. Integrity of all subsystems.
  9. Transparency of ethical behaviour.

For more information about the ethical regulator theorem, see the PDF Ethical Regulators and Super-Ethical Systems.


Super-Ethical Systems

The paper also proposes a framework for classifying cybernetic systems, which highlights a future time-line bifurcation that results in one of two mutually exclusive outcomes:
  • Humanity is protected by superintelligent, ethically adequate "super-ethical" systems.

  • Humanity is dominated by superintelligent, ethically inadequate "super-unethical" systems.

This domain also hosts a mirror copy of the W. Ross Ashby Digital Archive for use when the original archive site is unavailable or screwed-up with malware by the hosting company.