Robot Futures

With robots, we are inventing a new species that is part material and part digital. The ambition of modern robotics goes beyond copying humans, beyond the effort to make walking, talking androids that are indistinguishable from people. Future robots will have superhuman abilities in both the physical and digital realms. They will be embedded in…

Robot carers, ethics, and older people

This paper offers an ethical framework for the development of robots as home companions that are intended to address the isolation and reduced physical functioning of frail older people with capacity, especially those living alone in a non-institutional setting. Our ethical framework gives autonomy priority in a list of purposes served by assistive technology in…

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…

Overriding Ethical Constraints in Lethal Autonomous Systems

This article describes the philosophy, design, and prototype implementation of an operator override system intended for use in managing unmanned robotic systems capable of lethal behavior. The ethical ramifications associated with the responsibility assignment of such a system are presented, which guide the development of the proof-of-concept system that serves as the basis for the…

A Conceptual and Computational Model of Moral Decision Making in Human and Artificial Agents

Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in general, comprehensive models of human cognition. Such models aim to explain higher-order cognitive faculties, such as deliberation and planning. Given a computational representation, the validity of these models can be tested in computer simulations such as software agents or embodied robots. The push to implement computational…

AIonAI: A Humanitarian Law of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

The enduring progression of artificial intelligence and cybernetics offers an ever-closer possibility of rational and sentient robots. The ethics and morals deriving from this technological prospect have been considered in the philosophy of artificial intelligence, the design of automatons with roboethics and the contemplation of machine ethics through the concept of artificial moral agents. Across…

Machine Ethics: Creating an Ethical Intelligent Agent

The newly emerging field of machine ethics (Anderson and Anderson 2006) is concerned with adding an ethical dimension to machines. Unlike computer ethics -- which has traditionally focused on ethical issues surrounding human use of machines -- machine ethics is concerned with ensuring that the behavior of machines toward human users, and perhaps other machines…

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…

Ethical Assessment in the Design of Ambient Assisted Living

This paper tackles ethical issues that are relevant when designing new technological service systems for assisted living. In this paper we present our preliminary ethical guidelines that are built on six ethical principles that are selected based on the ethical assessment of MINAmI scenarios. The aim of ethical assessment is to create concrete and clear…

Autonomous Vehicles Need Experimental Ethics: Are We Ready for Utilitarian Cars?

The wide adoption of self-driving, Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) promises to dramatically reduce the number of traffic accidents. Some accidents, though, will be inevitable, because some situations will require AVs to choose the lesser of two evils. For example, running over a pedestrian on the road or a passer-by on the side; or choosing whether to…

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…