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Ethics Aspects Of Embedded And Cyber-Physical Systems

Publication Type:

Conference/Workshop Paper


The 39th Annual International Computers, Software & Applications Conference


The growing complexity of software employed in the cyber-physical domain is calling for a thorough study of both its functional and extra-functional properties. Ethical aspects are among important extra-functional properties, that cover the whole life cycle with different stages from design, development, deployment/production to use of cyber physical systems. One of the ethical challenges involved is the question of identifying the responsibilities of each stakeholder associated with the development and use of a cyber-physical system. This challenge is made even more pressing by the introduction of autonomous increasingly intelligent systems that can perform functionalities without human intervention, because of the lack of experience, best practices and policies for such technology.In this article, we provide a framework for responsibility attribution based on the amount of autonomy and automation involved in AI based cyber-physical systems. Our approach enables traceability of anomalous behaviors back to the responsible agents, be they human or software, allowing us to identify and separate the "responsibility" of the decision-making software from human responsibility. This provides us with a framework to accommodate the ethical "responsibility" of the software for AI based cyber-physical systems that will be deployed in the future, underscoring the role of ethics as an important extra-functional property. Finally, this systematic approach makes apparent the need for rigorous communication protocols between different actors associated with the development and operation of cyber-physical systems that further identifies the ethical challenges involved in the form of group responsibilities.


author = {Abhilash Thekkilakattil and Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic},
title = {Ethics Aspects Of Embedded And Cyber-Physical Systems},
month = {July},
year = {2015},
booktitle = {The 39th Annual International Computers, Software {\&} Applications Conference},
url = {}