New Foundations of Ethical Multiagent Systems

P.K. Murukannaiah, Nirav Ajmeri, C.M. Jonker, Munindar P. Singh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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Ethics is inherently a multiagent concern. However, research on AI ethics today is dominated by work on individual agents: (1) how an autonomous robot or car may harm or (differentially) benefit people in hypothetical situations (the so-called trolley problems) and (2) how a machine learning algorithm may produce biased decisions or recommendations. The societal framework is largely omitted. To develop new foundations for ethics in AI, we adopt a sociotechnical stance in which agents (as technical entities) help autonomous social entities or principals (people and organizations). This multiagent conception of a sociotechnical system (STS) captures how ethical concerns arise in the mutual interactions of multiple stakeholders. These foundations would enable us to realize ethical STSs that incorporate social and technical controls to respect stated ethical postures of the agents in the STSs. The envisioned foundations require new thinking, along two broad themes, on how to realize (1) an STS that reflects its stakeholders’ values and (2) individual agents that function effectively in such an STS.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th Conference on Autonomous Agents and MultiAgent Systems
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-7518-4
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventAAMAS 2020: The 19th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems - Auckland, New Zealand
Duration: 9 May 202013 May 2020
Conference number: 19th


ConferenceAAMAS 2020
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
OtherVirtual/online event due to COVID-19
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Ethics
  • Values
  • Sociotechnical systems


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