AIES 2022
Conference paper

Making Human-Like Moral Decisions

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Many real-life scenarios require humans to make difficult trade-offs: do we always follow all the traffic rules or do we violate the speed limit in an emergency? In general, how should we account for and balance the ethical values, safety recommendations, and societal norms, when we are trying to achieve a certain objective? To enable effective AI-human collaboration, we must equip AI agents with a model of how humans make such trade-offs in environments where there is not only a goal to be reached, but there are also ethical constraints to be considered and to possibly align with. These ethical constraints could be both deontological rules on actions that should not be performed, or also consequentialist policies that recommend avoiding reaching certain states of the world. Our purpose is to build AI agents that can mimic human behavior in these ethically constrained decision environments, with a long term research goal to use AI to help humans in making better moral judgments and actions. To this end, we propose a computational approach where competing objectives and ethical constraints are orchestrated through a method that leverages a cognitive model of human decision making, called multi-Alternative decision field theory (MDFT). Using MDFT, we build an orchestrator, called MDFT-Orchestrator (MDFT-O), that is both general and flexible. We also show experimentally that MDFT-O both generates better decisions than using a heuristic that takes a weighted average of competing policies (WA-O), but also performs better in terms of mimicking human decisions as collected through Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT). Our methodology is therefore able to faithfully model human decision in ethically constrained decision environments.