Can AI Provide Ethical Advice?

Christian Terwiesch, Mack Institute co-director and Wharton Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions, continues his exploration of Generative AI with a new paper entitled “Can AI Provide Ethical Advice?” Co-authored with Lennart Meincke, the paper details an experiment that pits advice from the New York Times famous “The Ethicist” column against advice generated by ChatGPT.

The abstract of the paper reads:

This study investigates the efficacy of an AI-based ethical advisor using the GPT-4 model. Drawing from a pool of ethical dilemmas published in the New York Times column “The Ethicist,” we compared the ethical advice given by the human expert and author of the column, Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah, with AI-generated advice. The comparison is done by evaluating the perceived usefulness of the ethical advice across three distinct groups: random subjects recruited from an online platform, Wharton MBA students, and a panel of ethical decision-making experts comprising academics and clergy. Our findings revealed no significant difference in the perceived value of the advice between human generated ethical advice and AI-generated ethical advice. When forced to choose between the two sources of advice, the random subjects recruited online displayed a slight but significant preference for the AI-generated advice, selecting it 60% of the time, while MBA students and the expert panel showed no significant preference.

Read the full paper


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