The BEHAVE-program consists of four modules:
Module 1 is the core of the program. It aims to extend discrete choice theory to the domain of moral decision making, by developing formal micro-econometric models of moral choice behaviour. These models are rooted in moral philosophy and moral psychology, and aim to describe how human decision-makers translate moral principles towards concrete moral actions. The module has a substantial empirical component, allowing us to estimate and validate our models. The empirical testing ground is obtained from case studies in Transportation (co-operative driving and road safety) and other domains.
Module 2 focuses on society as opposed to decision-making by individuals; it uses the estimated and validated discrete choice models developed in module 1 as input for agent based models (where the agents represent humans), to identify how social interaction processes lead to the emergence, persistence or dissolution of moral equilibria at larger spatio-temporal scales.
Module 3 studies how moral decision rules (including the ones developed in module 1) can be implemented in robots or artificial agents. We aim to contribute to the emerging field of machine ethics by equipping robots with human morality.
Module 4 studies interactions between moral artificial agents, in so-called multi-agent systems. This module aims to contribute to recent developments in Artificial Intelligence, and focuses on how systems of increasingly autonomous agents interact. Rules developed in module 1 will be used as input for these agents.
In sum: the BEHAVE-research program aims to extend discrete choice theory to the domain of moral decision making; and to employ the developed ‘moral discrete choice models’ in social simulation- and machine ethics-contexts. By doing so, we attempt to push the envelope of a variety of research fields, including discrete choice modeling, moral psychology, transportation, social simulation and machine ethics. To achieve this ambitions set of goals, we have brought together a top-notch team of researchers with backgrounds ranging from sociology and criminology to artificial intelligence, transportation and applied mathematics. Their personal pages can be found here; updates on our recent research progress and other relevant events can be found here. A publication containing a literature review and research agenda which together lay the foundation under much our work can be found here.