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Predictors of AI Moral Exclusion and Support for AI Rights

Published onNov 03, 2021
Predictors of AI Moral Exclusion and Support for AI Rights
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  • This Release (#1) was created on Oct 20, 2021 ()
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Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly applied to a range of social contexts from facial recognition to self-driving cars with ongoing goals of greater autonomous behavior and integration into human society. Existing evidence suggests that humans attribute cognitive capacities but not experiential capacities to AI entities such as robots; typically excluding them from the moral circle. We present findings from a preregistered online survey of 300 US Americans exploring how psychological predictors explain variation in morally exclusive attitudes and support for robot/AI rights. We explore different types of psychological predictors, drawn from the literature on human intergroup relations: perspective, relational, expansive, technological, and affective. Perspective predictors involve taking distant or future perspectives. Relational predictors are centered on social relationality. Expansive predictors involve psychological expansion away from a self- or human-centric viewpoint. Technological predictors include attitudes and beliefs about technology and robots/AIs. Affective predictors entail emotions felt by humans towards robots/AIs. Hierarchical linear multiple regression analyses showed that stronger sci-fi fan identity (relational), stronger techno-animistic beliefs (expansive), less substrate-based prejudice (technological), and more positive emotions felt towards robots/AIs (affective) predicted less morally exclusive attitudes and more support for robot/AI rights. These results highlight the predictors of attitudes towards AIs as a group rather than responses to a specific robot/AI, advancing conceptions of the general moral consideration of AIs. These results also provide a foundation for understanding various types of psychological predictors when explaining morally exclusive attitudes and rights policy support, including possible applications to human intergroup relations.

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