When will people regard robots as morally competent social partners?

We propose that moral competence consists of five distinct but related elements: (1) having a system of norms; (2) mastering a moral vocabulary; (3) exhibiting moral cognition and affect; (4) exhibiting moral decision making and action; and (5) engaging in moral communication. We identify some of the likely triggers that may convince people to (justifiably)…

How Robots Can Affect Human Behavior: Investigating the Effects of Robotic Displays of Protest and Distress

The rise of military drones and other robots deployed in ethically-sensitive contexts has fueled interest in developing autonomous agents that behave ethically. The ability for autonomous agents to independently reason about situational ethics will inevitably lead to confrontations between robots and human operators regarding the morality of issued commands. Ideally, a robot would be able…

The Ethical Landscape of Robotics

In this article, we highlight the possible benefits, as well potential threats, related to the widespread use of robots. We follow the view that a robot cannot be analyzed on its own without taking into consideration the complex sociotechnical nexus of today's societies and that high-tech devices, such as robots, may influence how societies develop…

“Sorry, I Can’t Do That”: Developing Mechanisms to Appropriately Reject Directives in Human-Robot Interactions

Future robots will need mechanisms to determine when and how it is best to reject directives that it receives from human interlocutors. In this paper, we briefly present initial work that has been done in the DIARC/ADE cognitive robotic architecture to enable a directive rejection and explanation mechanism, showing its operation in a simple HRI…

The Inherent Dangers of Unidirectional Emotional Bonds between Humans and Social Robots

Emotional dependence on social robots is different from other human dependencies on technology (e.g., different both in kind and quality from depending on one’s cell phone, wrist watch, or PDA). To be able to understand the difference and the potential ramifications of building complex social robots that are freely deployed in human societies, we have…