Meaningful human control: actionable properties for AI system development

Luciano Cavalcante Siebert, Maria Luce Lupetti, Evgeni Aizenberg, Niek Beckers, Arkady Zgonnikov, Herman Veluwenkamp, David Abbink, Elisa Giaccardi, Geert-Jan Houben, Catholijn M. Jonker, Jeroen van den Hoven, Deborah Forster, Reginald L. Lagendijk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

How can humans remain in control of artificial intelligence (AI)-based systems designed to perform tasks autonomously? Such systems are increasingly ubiquitous, creating benefits - but also undesirable situations where moral responsibility for their actions cannot be properly attributed to any particular person or group. The concept of meaningful human control has been proposed to address responsibility gaps and mitigate them by establishing conditions that enable a proper attribution of responsibility for humans; however, clear requirements for researchers, designers, and engineers are yet inexistent, making the development of AI-based systems that remain under meaningful human control challenging. In this paper, we address the gap between philosophical theory and engineering practice by identifying, through an iterative process of abductive thinking, four actionable properties for AI-based systems under meaningful human control, which we discuss making use of two applications scenarios: automated vehicles and AI-based hiring. First, a system in which humans and AI algorithms interact should have an explicitly defined domain of morally loaded situations within which the system ought to operate. Second, humans and AI agents within the system should have appropriate and mutually compatible representations. Third, responsibility attributed to a human should be commensurate with that human’s ability and authority to control the system. Fourth, there should be explicit links between the actions of the AI agents and actions of humans who are aware of their moral responsibility. We argue that these four properties will support practically minded professionals to take concrete steps toward designing and engineering for AI systems that facilitate meaningful human control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-255
Number of pages15
JournalAI and Ethics
Volume3
Issue number1
Early online date18-May-2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2023
Externally publishedYes

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