Ethical Things project examines one facet of artificial intelligence

We already know that people use smart devices to do dumb things, but how do they fare with moral quandaries? The Ethical Things project doesn't leave the answer in the hands of the device, but does explore how we might build smart machines—especially autonomous military and rescue vehicles—to make the right moral decisions in a crisis.

Ethical Things' flagship device is the Ethical Fan, which must choose which of two subjects to blow air on based on data it observes about their size, clothing and signs of relative health. Before the experiment begins, the user can set its moral compass along four variables:

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