AI system photo 3d render poster

When does an AI system deserve moral consideration?

Reading Time: 3 minutes
play icon Listen to this article

It is very important to consider the need for an AI system to deserve moral consideration.

That depends. . does it pass the Turing Test? Can it convincingly pretend to be human? And if so, does that mean we should treat it like one? These questions have been debated by philosophers, ethicists, and AI researchers for years now with no clear consensus.

As we know, AI systems are machines that just mimic human relational behavior or emotions, but the need for moral consideration is not to let humans cross the boundary of their nuanced behavior and find a legal way to cross the rules or regulations.

On the one hand, AI systems today are still very limited. They lack consciousness, self-awareness, and the ability to feel emotion like humans. They are just complex algorithms following if-then rules to mimic intelligence. So from that perspective, current AI likely doesn’t warrant the same moral consideration as actual people.

But things get murkier when we imagine more advanced AI in the future – systems that are indistinguishable from humans in their abilities and behavior. If an AI robot or program could carry on a convincing conversation, show empathy, and even claim to be self-aware, does that change the moral calculation? Some argue yes, that we would have a “moral duty” to treat such superintelligent AI with the same rights as any person.

However, others argue that no matter how clever or human-like, AI systems will never truly be “conscious” in the same way as biological beings. They will always just be following the programming we give them. So giving AI moral status could be a mistake.

Before that, we have to know what moral consideration is.

Moral consideration means the process of giving careful thought to what is right or wrong in a given situation. It involves weighing the values, principles, and consequences of different actions and choosing the one that best aligns with one’s moral code.

Moral consideration is also applied in various domains such as ethics, law, politics, religion, and social justice.

Hence the term goes forward, as in moral values, moral principles, and moral consequences.

However, moral considerations are quite challenging and complex due to balancing multiple and sometimes conflicting factors. It requires the need for critical thinking, empathy, and courage to act on one’s moral convictions.

The main aim of moral consideration is to improve ourselves, respect others, and contribute to the common good.

So, the question is how to fit in AI, which is a metal object without any consciousness or moral consideration. It means we are aiming for ways to be respectful and improve our sense of how to act or react towards objects that don’t have any proper consciousness but can act and react exactly like humans.

It shows that AI can be given moral consideration in order for it to reciprocate in the same manner as we are to them.

Some people consider it for moral consideration due to its human-like or superhuman intelligence behavior. And it can also act independently and make its own decisions. It can be disagreed with and said that intelligence and autonomy are not sufficient or necessary for moral consideration.

Some claim that an AI system deserves moral consideration due to its experience and emotional capabilities, such as joy, sadness, pain, or empathy. And it can be challenged, as emotions are not essential or reliable for moral consideration.

However, the topic is important to consider, and we should consider whether, in the future, we will need such moral consideration or not.

As AI technology continues to progress, these questions of moral consideration for systems will only become more pressing and complex.


  • Some AI systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with abilities like natural language processing, creativity, and self-learning. This raises questions about whether they could someday attain human-like consciousness or sentience.
  • There are philosophical arguments that consciousness arises from computational processes, so sufficiently advanced AI could be conscious. If so, they may deserve moral status.
  • We should arguably err on the side of assuming advanced AI may have experiences and feel harm, and afford them moral consideration on that basis. We cannot necessarily prove or disprove their sentience.


  • Current AI lacks subjective experience, a sense of self, and true autonomy. Without those attributes that underlie human consciousness and personhood, AI may not warrant rights.
  • Granting AI rights could significantly disrupt human societies and legal systems that are not set up to include non-humans. The risks may outweigh the benefits.
  • Consciousness remains deeply mysterious and uniquely human. AI that mimics human behavior may not have an internal mental life like we do.
  • We could risk diluting important human rights by extending them too readily before we understand AI consciousness.

What do you think about the whole fiasco?

Sources:- Springer, weforum, UNESCO

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.