Human Perceptions on Moral Responsibility of AI: A Case Study in AI-Assisted Bail Decision-Making

Gabriel Lima, Nina Grgić-Hlača, Meeyoung Cha

How to attribute responsibility for autonomous artificial intelligence (AI) systems' actions has been widely debated across the humanities and social science disciplines. This work presents two experiments ($N$=200 each) that measure people's perceptions of eight different notions of moral responsibility concerning AI and human agents in the context of bail decision-making. Using real-life adapted vignettes, our experiments show that AI agents are held causally responsible and blamed similarly to human agents for an identical task. However, there was a meaningful difference in how people perceived these agents' moral responsibility; human agents were ascribed to a higher degree of present-looking and forward-looking notions of responsibility than AI agents. We also found that people expect both AI and human decision-makers and advisors to justify their decisions regardless of their nature. We discuss policy and HCI implications of these findings, such as the need for explainable AI in high-stakes scenarios.

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