The Heart of Human Dignity

“Like other beings, we as ‘I’ have drives, desires, passions, but unlike any other, we as ‘Me’ can ask ourselves whether it is right to pursue or satisfy them. What if satisfying my desires means that you will go hungry? What if my pursuit of passion means putting you in a distressing situation? That judgement is what makes us moral beings, and it is not reducible to algorithms. Algorithms can predict, but only human beings can decide, and that is a crucial distinction. That self-consciousness which makes us all moral agents defines the responsibility and freedom that we have, and it is this that we will have to apply to the development of artificial intelligence, among other things, and that we must continue to nurture, because it is what makes us unique among all life forms currently known to us. Morality lies at the very heart of human dignity.”

Morality, Chapter 17, p. 245