University of Oulu

Tuovinen, L. (2022). “It Belongs in a Museum!”: A Practical Take on the Question of Artificial Intelligence and Moral Patiency. In Koskinen, J., Kimppa, K., Heimo, O., Naskali, J., Ponkala, S. & Rantanen, M. (Eds.) Proceedings of the ETHICOMP 2022 : Effectiveness of ICT ethics – How do we help solve ethical problems in the field of ICT? Turku: University of Turku. Retreived from

“It belongs in a museum!” : a practical take on the question of artificial intelligence and moral patiency

Saved in:
Author: Tuovinen, Lauri1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.1 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: , 2022
Publish Date: 2022-09-07


One of the more philosophical issues in artificial intelligence (AI) ethics is the debate on whether an AI-based entity such as a robot can ever be considered a moral patient. The debate revolves around the question of whether such an entity could conceivably have interests that would warrant the conclusion that it should have rights akin to human or animal rights. This paper explores an alternative point of view, where the appropriate analogy is not a sentient being but a cultural artifact such as a great work of art. Such an artifact, while not strictly speaking a moral patient, is arguably due some level of moral consideration and moral agents may have an obligation to protect it. By considering AI-based entities as cultural artifacts, an argument can be made that 1) such entities do, in some cases, have substantial intrinsic value based on their cultural significance, 2) such entities have certain special qualities that distinguish them as a category from other, closely related technological artifacts, and 3) the above considerations are already applicable to entities that exist today, not just to hypothetical future sentient or conscious machines.

see all

ISBN: 978-951-29-8989-8
Pages: 154 - 164
Host publication: Proceedings of the ETHICOMP 2022 : effectiveness of ICT ethics – how do we help solve ethical problems in the field of ICT?
Host publication editor: Koskinen, Jani
Kimppa, Kai. K.
Heimo, Olli
Naskali, Juhani
Ponkala, Salla
Rantanen, Minna M.
Type of Publication: B3 Article in conference proceedings
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Copyright information: Copyright © 2022 for this paper by its authors. Use permitted under Creative Commons License Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)