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Remote-Control Crimes

In summary, the development and use of tele-operated robotic systems will continue to present new difficulties for the enforcement of local and international laws. These systems present a new capability for committing violent crimes at great distances that did not exist before. Moreover, the ability of tele-agency to separate actors from their actions will further…

“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…

Technology as empowerment: A capability approach to computer ethics

Standard agent and action-based approaches in computer ethics tend to have difficulty dealing with complex systems-level issues such as the digital divide and globalisation. This paper argues for a value-based agenda to complement traditional approaches in computer ethics, and that one value-based approach well-suited to technological domains can be found in capability theory. Capability approaches…

Terminator Niches

The aim of this paper is to connect studies in cognitive niches with the diffusion of high-technologies, cyborgs and robots, so as to obtain a new framework for analyzing some dilemmas of future technological developments. Digital technologies dramatically boosted the niche constructing dynamics by allowing the construction of new informational environments and by the addition…

The birth of roboethics

The importance, and urgency, of a Roboethics lay in the lesson of our recent history. Two of the front rank fields of science and technology, Nuclear Physics and Genetic Engineering, have already been forced to face the ethical consequences of their research’s applications under the pressure of dramatic and troubling events. In many countries, public…

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…

The need for moral competency in autonomous agent architectures

Artificial intelligence and robotics are rapidly advancing in their quest to build truly autonomous agents. In particular, autonomous robots are envisioned to be deployed into our society in the not-so-distant future in many different application domains, ranging from assistive robots for healthcare settings to combat robots on the battlefield. Critically, all these robots will have…

The responsibility gap: Ascribing responsibility for the actions of learning automata

Traditionally, the manufacturer/operator of a machine is held (morally and legally) responsible for the consequences of its operation. Autonomous, learning machines, based on neural networks, genetic algorithms and agent architectures, create a new situation wherein the manufacturer/operator of the machine is in principle not capable of predicting the future machine behaviour anymore, and thus cannot…

The Rights of Machines: Caring for Robotic Care-Givers

Work in the field of machine medical ethics, especially as it applies to healthcare robots, generally focuses attention on controlling the decision-making capabilities and actions of autonomous machines for the sake of respecting the rights of human beings. Absent from much of the current literature is a consideration of the other side of this issue.…

When is a Robot a Moral Agent ?

In this paper I argue that in certain circumstances robots can be seen as real moral agents. A distinction is made between persons and moral agents such that it is not necessary for a robot to have personhood in order to be a moral agent. I detail three requirements for a robot to be seen…