There has been progression in ethics models, moving from act-based to agent-based to now situation-based. Act-based models are based on actions (the Kantian categorical imperative vs utilitarianism (the good of the many) or consequentialism (the end justifies the means). Agent-based models hold that the character of the agent should be predictive of behavior (dispositionist). Now social science experimentation has validated a situation-based model (the actor performs according to the situation (i.e., and could behave in different ways depending on the situation)). However all of these models are still transcendent; they are in the form of externally pre-specified ideals.
Moving to a true futurist ethics that supports freedom, empowerment, inspiration, and creative expression, it is necessary to espouse ethics models of immanence (Figure 1). In an ethics of immanence, the focus is the agent, where an important first step is tuning in to true desires (Deleuze) and one’s own sense of subjective experience (Bergson). Expanding the range of possible perceptions, interpretations, and courses of action is critical. This could be achieved by improved mechanisms for eliciting, optimizing, and managing values, desires, and biases.
As social models progress, a futurist ethics should move from what can be a limiting ethics 1.0 of judging behavior against pre-set principles to the ethics 2.0 of creating a life that is affirmatory and expansive.
Slideshare presentation: Machine Ethics: An Ethics of Perception in Nanocognition