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Virtue Ethics in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Virtue ethics is a theory that was first established by the ancient Greeks and Aristotle, and it presents the dire quest and desire to live and familiarize oneself with a life of moral character. The theory is entirely based on character to explain morality, and it generally concludes that individuals often attain virtue by training. To further explain the theory, Aristotle and the ancient Greeks asserted that a moral and honourable character can be developed through the practice of being brave, generous, honest, and much more. Thus, Aristotle believed that individuals can make the right and desired choices when encountering ethical problems through an extensive honing of virtuous characters. Nature often entails the inherent telos and reasons that always guide its actions and development in the contemporary world. Therefore, the virtue ethics approach can be applied to artificial intelligence (AI) and transhumanist technology by enabling individuals to think strongly about the desired goals and objectives of artificial intelligence systems. Artificial intelligence systems and transhumanist technology lack intentions and consciousness even though they perform numerous actions to help humanity as designed by humans for specific functions. This paper asserts that the rapid breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and transhumanist technology face ethical issues that can be effectively navigated by adopting a virtue-centred strategy.

The widespread adoption and usage of artificial intelligence give rise to the prevalence of legal and ethical aspects confronting society, which include discrimination and bias, surveillance and privacy, and probably the philosophical problems that are the role of human decision-making needs. Intelligence is one aspect of human life that can be used as a characteristic to differentiate between animals and human beings. Despite the legal and ethical challenges that arise from the usage of AI, the sole purpose of AI is to create machines and technology that mimic people’s characters and think like human beings, including planning, reasoning, predicting, learning, and perceiving (Xu et al., 2021). While the usage of artificial intelligence has been pervasive in numerous applications and places, machine learning security risks continue to be experienced on data, and the various attacks always target both the training and the implementation processes. As a result, virtue ethics can be employed in understanding the ethical and legal challenges so that individuals can maximize the outstanding benefits that come with the adoption of artificial intelligence in human life.

The proponents of artificial intelligence and transhumanism have constantly argued that developing technologies can be effective and quite useful in eradicating diseases while also enhancing the lives of human beings and offering desired solutions for the numerous arising global challenges. The adoption of transhumanist technologies in the medical field and general human life calls for undivided attention to guarantee that the safety and well-beingwellbeing of the people are at the forefront of every operation (Mirkes, 2019). However, the adoption of artificial intelligence and transhumanization can have detrimental effects on human life. The numerous risks linked to artificial intelligence in healthcare entail the possibility of AI errors, which can result in harming patients. In addition, there are concerns over data security and privacy and the adoption of AI in approaches that may result in worsening health and social inequalities by including the present human biases and discriminative patterns in the automated algorithms and also implementing AI in approaches that support social inequalities in the provision of healthcare services (Federspiel et al., 2023). Therefore, among the numerous theories and approaches that can be used to question and ensure the wellbeing of the people, virtue ethics stands out as it reinforces on cultivating virtuous character.

The ethical considerations in value ethics theory can be extended and applied to artificial intelligence ethics for the good and responsibility of humans. Virtue ethics can be applied to data privacy, ethical accountability and societal influence, which are all linked to rapid improvements in technology within AI ethics (Liu, 2023). The logical exploration of the theory of virtue ethics is highly applicable in the assessment of the societal influence of technological improvements. The ethical approach is extremely relevant in society as it emphasizes cultivating virtuous characters and traits that instil the common good of the people in the respective sphere. Therefore, virtue ethics highlights the fundamental efforts in shaping technology in aspects that always improve and value the flourishing of human beings while also cultivating an equitable and just society (Liu, 2023). The approach takes part in an intensive ethical inquiry to address the numerous complexities that come with technological advancements within AI and transhumanist technology to ensure the responsibility and promotion of an ethically equitable and informed future. The advantages that come with the incorporation of artificial intelligence in the healthcare and daily lives of individuals should not blind them from the challenges that technological advancements pose to society. Virtue ethics should be applied to control the usage and implementation of AI and transhumanist technology to guarantee responsibility and accountability among the users and developers.

Additionally, in virtue ethics, doing the right thing or being virtuous requires one to have the ability to exert and develop understanding and the application of wisdom and empathy in deciding on the desired and most pleasing course of action linked to the specific situation. Virtue ethics can, therefore, be used to cultivate the proper wisdom and empathy that can act as a guideline for the development of AI and transhumanism, which, if applied responsibly, can be used to enhance human civilization. Intellectual virtue in virtue ethics requires the operation of technology in the moral sphere in linking cognitive, affective, motor abilities, and perceptual in fluid and refined expressions of moral perfection that react intelligently and effectively to the ethical requirements of certain scenarios (Constantinescu & Crisp, 2022). Individuals should design a minimalist approach for the technological improvement model of moral dispositional functionalism, where artificial intelligence adheres to moral cognition through acquiring moral virtues via practice by relying on learning patterns incorporated in technological advancements. Developers and users of artificial intelligence must understand the challenging and exciting influences that are intertwined with the developed technologies in societies. Virtue ethics can be used to prevent mistakes and ethical challenges that might arise because of using technology not only among the people but the entire community.

In conclusion, while the incorporation of artificial intelligence and transhumanist technology into the workplace and daily lives is fascinating and lessens work done, it also poses challenges regarding data privacy security and breaches that might arise. Therefore, users and developers of artificial intelligence should learn and value virtue ethics as it can be incorporated into technological developments in addition to their skills to guarantee an accountable approach to usage without negatively impacting other people or society. Artificial intelligence is a broad sphere that affects the way people communicate, work, and interact with developed technological tools. Virtue ethics can be used to address the concerns that arise from the adoption and implementation of artificial intelligence, such as privacy and security, discrimination and bias, and possible abuse or misuse. Even so, developers of artificial intelligence have the responsibility to guarantee ethical activities by choosing unbiased data, creating rules, being informed on the outputs, doing away with harmful data, guaranteeing transparent operations, safeguarding privacy, adhering to policies and including human oversight in their operations.


Constantinescu, M., & Crisp, R. (2022). Can Robotic AI Systems Be Virtuous, and Why Does This Matter? International Journal of Social Robotics14(6), 1547–1557.

Federspiel, F., Mitchell, R., Asokan, A., Umana, C., & McCoy, D. (2023). Threats by artificial intelligence to human health and human existence. BMJ Global Health8(5), e010435.

LIU, K. M. (2023). The Integrative Hermeneutics of Accelerationism: “Xenoaccelerationism” BY KAIOLA M LIU A WORK IN PROGRESS. Economics and Philosophy.

Mirkes, R. (2019). Transhumanist Medicine: Can We Direct Its Power to the Service of Human Dignity? The Linacre Quarterly86(1), 115–126.

Xu, Y., Wang, Q., An, Z., Wang, F., Zhang, L., Wu, Y., Dong, F., Qiu, C.-W., Liu, X., Qiu, J., Hua, K., Su, W., Xu, H., Han, Y., Cao, X., Liu, E., Fu, C., Yin, Z., Liu, M., & Roepman, R. (2021). Artificial Intelligence: A Powerful Paradigm for Scientific Research. The Innovation2(4), 100179. ScienceDirect.


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