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Tae Wan Kim - Carnegie Mellon University. Pittsburgh, PA, US

Tae Wan Kim

Associate Professor | Carnegie Mellon University


Tae Wan Kim's research is focused on AI ethics, cross-cultural business ethics, future of the workplace and corporate social responsibility.


Tae Wan Kim's research is focused on artificial intelligence ethics, cross-cultural business ethics, future of the workplace and corporate social responsibility. In addition to being a faculty member of the Tepper School of Business, he is also on the faculty of the Block Center for Technology and Society at Heinz College and CyLab at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science. Kim has served as a committee member of the IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems, Halcyon Principles for Connected Intelligent Technologies and Program Committee of AAAI/ACM Conference on Artificial intelligence, Society and Ethics. Kim was the Xerox Junior Faculty Research Chair in 2020, received Business Ethics Quarterly’s Best Article Award twice (2015, 2017), was selected as one of 11 Groundbreaking, World-Changing Wharton PhDs by Wharton Magazine (2018), is a Fellow of World Economic Forum’s Future Council for Human Rights, and became President-elect of the Society for Business Ethics (2021).

Areas of Expertise (6)

Corporate Social Responsibility

Artificial Intelligence Ethics

Artificial Intelligence


Future of Work

Business Ethics

Media Appearances (5)

Exploring Confucianism as an alternative perspective on robot rights

The Week  online


As robots continue to play increasingly significant roles in our society, questions regarding their moral and legal status have become a subject of philosophical and legal debates. While some argue for granting rights to robots, a new analysis proposes an alternative perspective rooted in Confucianism. The analysis, conducted by Tae Wan Kim, an Associate Professor of Business Ethics at Carnegie Mellon University, challenges the idea of granting rights to robots and suggests considering them as "rites bearers" instead. It aims to explore Confucianism as an alternative framework for understanding the moral and social implications of robots.

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Confucianism for robots? Ethicist says that’s better than giving them full rights

Fast Company  online


It’s rooted in the ancient Chinese philosophy of Confucianism. As the study’s lead author, Tae Wan Kim, explains, Confucianists observe a reverence for rites: performing rituals that are said to bring followers closer to moral transcendence. Thus, robots should be assigned their own rites, or what Kim calls “role obligations.”

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Rights or Rites? Reimagining Robots’ Moral Status through Confucian Lens

Neuroscience News  online


“People are worried about the risks of granting rights to robots,” notes Tae Wan Kim, Associate Professor of Business Ethics at CMU’s Tepper School of Business, who conducted the analysis.

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Why Top Management Should Focus on Responsible AI

MIT Sloan Management Review  online


Roughly a sixth of our panelists (14%) neither agree nor disagree that RAI should be a top management issue. They offer several reasons for why top management’s focus on RAI is not enough. Carnegie Mellon associate professor of business ethics Tae Wan Kim observes that top management is fallible: “We need more evidence about whether having responsible AI as part of the top management agenda makes a positive or negative impact.” He cites Google’s firing of a prominent AI ethicist, Timnit Gebru, as an example of top management’s troubling decision-making on issues related to RAI.

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Colleges impose coronavirus testing fees of up to $1,500 for unvaccinated students

USA Today  online


From an ethical perspective, it’s perfectly acceptable to force students to bear the costs of remaining unvaccinated, said Tae Wan Kim, a business ethics professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business. “Universities typically already had vaccine mandates before COVID-19,” he said. “Making students pay the fee is ethically justified. It’s similar to making dangerous car owners pay higher insurance rates.” Advocates for affordable college criticized administrators for making school less accessible.

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Aligning Values to Career Choice Panel Discussion Tae Wan Kim - A conversation about the ethical challenges of artificial intelligence Tae Wan Kim: AI Should Not Simply Mimic Human Behavior Should Robots Have Rights or Rites?



Accomplishments (5)

Carnegie Bosch Institute (CBI) - Research Grant Award (professional)


Society for Business Ethics - Founder’s Award (professional)


Society for Business Ethics - The Best Article published in Business Ethics Quarterly for 2016 (professional)


Society for Business Ethics - The Best Article published in Business Ethics Quarterly for 2014 (professional)


The Joseph H. Lauder Institute, University of Pennsylvania - Penn Lauder CIBER Ph.D. Grant (professional)


Education (2)

University of Pennsylvania: Ph.D., Ethics and Legal Studies 2012

Sungkyunkwan University: B.A., Philosophy

Articles (5)

Computational ethics

Trends in Cognitive Sciences

2022 Technological advances are enabling roles for machines that present novel ethical challenges. The study of 'AI ethics' has emerged to confront these challenges, and connects perspectives from philosophy, computer science, law, and economics. Less represented in these interdisciplinary efforts is the perspective of cognitive science. We propose a framework – computational ethics – that specifies how the ethical challenges of AI can be partially addressed by incorporating the study of human moral decision-making. The driver of this framework is a computational version of reflective equilibrium (RE), an approach that seeks coherence between considered judgments and governing principles.

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Master and slave: the dialectic of human-artificial intelligence engagement

Humanistic Management Journal

2021 The massive introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) has triggered significant societal concerns, ranging from “technological unemployment” and the dominance of algorithms in the work place and in everyday life, among others. While AI is made by humans and is, therefore, dependent on the latter for its purpose, the increasing capabilities of AI to carry out productive activities for humans can lead the latter to unwitting slavish existence. This has become evident, for example, in the area of social media use, where AI programmers tie psychology and persuasion to the human social need for approval and validation in ways that few users can resist.

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Ethics of split liver transplantation: should a large liver always be split if medically safe?

Journal of Medical Ethics

2021 Split liver transplantation (SLT) provides an opportunity to divide a donor liver, offering transplants to two small patients (one or both could be a child) rather than keeping it whole and providing a transplant to a single larger adult patient. In this article, we attempt to address the following question that is identified by the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network and United Network for Organ Sharing: ‘Should a large liver always be split if medically safe?’ This article aims to defend an answer—‘not always’—and clarify under what circumstances SLT is ethically desirable. Our answer will show why a more dynamic approach is needed to the ethics of SLT. First, we discuss a case that does not need a dynamic approach. Then, we explain what is meant by a dynamic approach and why it is needed.

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Taking Principles Seriously: A Hybrid Approach to Value Alignment in Artificial Intelligence

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

2021 An important step in the development of value alignment (VA) systems in artificial intelligence (AI) is understanding how VA can reflect valid ethical principles. We propose that designers of VA systems incorporate ethics by utilizing a hybrid approach in which both ethical reasoning and empirical observation play a role. This, we argue, avoids committing “naturalistic fallacy,” which is an attempt to derive “ought” from “is,” and it provides a more adequate form of ethical reasoning when the fallacy is not committed. Using quantified modal logic, we precisely formulate principles derived from deontological ethics and show how they imply particular “test propositions” for any given action plan in an AI rule base

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Flawed Like Us and the Starry Moral Law: Review of Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan

Journal of Business Ethics

2021 It took almost a year to write this review. It’s the kind of book that you can read in one sitting. But it is not a story that you can easily digest. It’s disturbing. At least to me. If the goal of a novel is to disrupt readers, Ian McEwan’s (2019) Machines Like Me achieves that. The agitation makes me rethink what it means to be human in the age of artificial intelligence.

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