Applying Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s christian conception of responsibility to the ethics of artificial intelligence design and development

Joseph Nelson

    Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis


    This thesis will consider the ways in which Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s ethical conception of responsibility can be applied to the current discussions around the ethics of the development and implementation of Artificial Intelligence technology. As we will see, the topic of AI ethics is not a question that any of us can ignore. It pervades modern technology and influences our modern world. Far from seeking to stifle technological development this thesis seeks to promote ways in which we can use these technological developments responsibly and find ways to develop AI for the good of all humanity . This thesis will begin by considering what Bonhoeffer means by ethical responsibility and how that can be interpreted and implemented in our modern ethical landscape and applied to the world in which we find ourselves today. Furthermore, this thesis will see what sort of governmental frameworks and recommendations already exist and how there are pitfalls that need to be addressed by a wider ethical hermeneutic of responsibility. We will also consider what AI is and briefly outline some key considerations before applying Bonhoeffer’s ethics of responsibility to the concepts discussed. Finally, this thesis will conclude that Bonhoeffer’s ethics of responsibility can help Christians, and those outside the Church, to think of the current debates around Artificial Intelligence in ways that go beyond the current pitfalls of a too heavily principle-based argument or one that is more concerned about cataclysmic questions of AI taking over the world. Bonhoeffer points us back to the here and now, to that which is real, and the ways in which we can, as individuals, work for a more just and fairer society which stands up for the weakest and most vulnerable.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationMaster of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Leeds
    • Shabut, Antesar, Supervisor
    • Owen, Suzanne, Supervisor
    • Mealey, Ann Marie, Supervisor
    Award date6 Nov 2023
    Place of PublicationWhite Rose eTheses Online
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2023


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