People hold smart AI assistants responsible for outcomes

September 01, 2023

Enlarge © IMAGO / Westend61Future AI-based systems may navigate autonomous vehicles through traffic with no human input. Research has shown that people judge such futuristic AI systems to be just as responsible as humans when they make autonomous traffic decisions. Or the AI assistant? “Yet a lot of the experimental evidence we have on responsibility gaps focuses on robots or autonomous vehicles where AI is literally in the driver’s seat, deciding for us. Participants also indicated whether they saw the navigation aid as responsible, and to which degree it was a tool.

© IMAGO / Westend61

Future AI-based systems may navigate autonomous vehicles through traffic with no human input. Research has shown that people judge such futuristic AI systems to be just as responsible as humans when they make autonomous traffic decisions. However, real-life AI assistants are far removed from this kind of autonomy. They provide human users with supportive information such as navigation and driving aids. So, who is responsible in these real-life cases when something goes right or wrong? The human user? Or the AI assistant? A team led by Louis Longin from the Chair of Philosophy of Mind has now investigated how people assess responsibility in these cases.

“We all have smart assistants in our pockets,” says Longin. “Yet a lot of the experimental evidence we have on responsibility gaps focuses on robots or autonomous vehicles where AI is literally in the driver’s seat, deciding for us. Investigating cases where we are still the ones making the final decision, but use AI more like a sophisticated instrument, is essential.”

A philosopher specialized in the interaction between humans and AI, Longin, working in collaboration with his colleague Dr. Bahador Bahrami and Prof. Ophelia Deroy, Chair of Philosophy of Mind, investigated how 940 participants judged a human driver using either a smart AI-powered verbal assistant, a smart AI-powered tactile assistant, or a non-AI navigation instrument. Participants also indicated whether they saw the navigation aid as responsible, and to which degree it was a tool.

Popular in Research

Roundup of Key Statements

Oct 14, 2023

New path facilitates campus access for students

Feb 2, 2023