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Artificial Pain May Induce Empathy, Morality, and Ethics in the Conscious Mind of Robots

Institute for Open and Transdisciplinary Research Initiatives, Osaka University, Suita 565-0871, Japan
Philosophies 2019, 4(3), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies4030038
Received: 6 June 2019 / Revised: 7 July 2019 / Accepted: 8 July 2019 / Published: 13 July 2019
In this paper, a working hypothesis is proposed that a nervous system for pain sensation is a key component for shaping the conscious minds of robots (artificial systems). In this article, this hypothesis is argued from several viewpoints towards its verification. A developmental process of empathy, morality, and ethics based on the mirror neuron system (MNS) that promotes the emergence of the concept of self (and others) scaffolds the emergence of artificial minds. Firstly, an outline of the ideological background on issues of the mind in a broad sense is shown, followed by the limitation of the current progress of artificial intelligence (AI), focusing on deep learning. Next, artificial pain is introduced, along with its architectures in the early stage of self-inflicted experiences of pain, and later, in the sharing stage of the pain between self and others. Then, cognitive developmental robotics (CDR) is revisited for two important concepts—physical embodiment and social interaction, both of which help to shape conscious minds. Following the working hypothesis, existing studies of CDR are briefly introduced and missing issues are indicated. Finally, the issue of how robots (artificial systems) could be moral agents is addressed. View Full-Text
Keywords: pain; empathy; morality; mirror neuron system (MNS) pain; empathy; morality; mirror neuron system (MNS)
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Asada, M. Artificial Pain May Induce Empathy, Morality, and Ethics in the Conscious Mind of Robots. Philosophies 2019, 4, 38.

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