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Ethics of Reinforcement Learning

What is ethics and moral?

For people, who has not read moral philosophy, lets define some words first to get right context. This definitions is taken from Wikipedia for moral and ethics.

Morality is the judgment and code of conduct of what is good and evil, right or wrong. The word morality is used both descriptively to refer to prevailing perceptions of right and wrong and to give guidance as to what should be morally good and right.

Morality can be a body of standards or principles derived from a code of conduct from a particular philosophy, religion or culture, or it can derive from a standard that a person believes should be universal. Morality may also be specifically synonymous with “goodness” or “rightness”.

Ethics is a field of research which examines morality and related issues like principles of ethical actions, what is right and wrong, good life and nature of values and ethical claims.

Normative ethics tries to give guidelines, which are based on some specific moral. Normative ethics specifies rules, what people should believe right or wrong behavior. Normative ethics is prescriptive, guiding ethics. Difference to descriptive ethics, which concerns mostly what people typically believe to be good of bad.

Machine ethics


Reinforcement learning


Reinforcement learning use cases



Some general ethical RL guideline


Analysis of EU guidelines for trustworthy AI in context of RL



* Image of Reinforcement Learning:

* 10 Real-Life Applications of Reinforcement Learning: Derrick Mwiti, 2021:

* Automated Decision Making Systems in Pre-trial Release Decisions: ACLU of Washington, 2021:

* Criminal justice, artificial intelligence systems, and human rights: Aleš Završnik, 2020:

* Reinforcement Learning in Healthcare: A Survey : Chao Yu, Jiming Liu, Fellow, IEEE, and Shamim Nemati, 2020:

* The use of pretrial “Risk Assessment” instruments: A shared statement of civil rights concermns:

* Lasten ja nuorten ongelmia ennakoidaan Suomen laajimmalla keinoälymallilla Lappeenrannassa: Etelä‐Karjalan sosiaali‐ ja terveyspiiri, 2018:

* Human In-The-Loop Vs. Out-of-The-Loop in AI Systems - The Case of AI Self-Driving Cars: Lance Eliot, 2019:

* Ethics guidelines for trustworthy AI: European Comission, 2019:

artificial_intelligence/ethics_of_rl.txt · Last modified: 2021/12/21 21:14 by Mikko Romppainen

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