Embedding Ethical Principles in Collective Decision Support Systems

The future will see autonomous machines acting in the same environment as humans, in areas as diverse as driving, assistive technology, and health care. Think of self-driving cars, companion robots, and medical diagnosis support systems. We also believe that humans and machines will often need to work together and agree on common decisions. Thus hybrid…

Robotic Nudges: The Ethics of Engineering a More Socially Just Human Being

Robots are becoming an increasingly pervasive feature of our personal lives. As a result, there is growing importance placed on examining what constitutes appropriate behavior when they interact with human beings. In this paper, we discuss whether companion robots should be permitted to “nudge” their human users in the direction of being “more ethical”. More…

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…

Architectures and Ethics for Robots

The goal of this chapter is to propose constraint satisfaction as a central design concept for intelligent robots. Some proposals for codes of robot ethics apparently presuppose the existence of certain technical abilities on behalf of the robot designer that, simply put, do not yet exist. Namely, given current robot design techniques, it is usually…

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…

Socially Assistive Robots in Elderly Care: A Mixed-Method Systematic Literature Review

The world’s population is aging, and developed countries are engaged in developing a new aged-care paradigm to reduce spiraling healthcare costs. Assistive technologies like Socially Assistive Robots (SAR) are being considered as enablers to support the process of caregiving or to keep the elderly at home longer. This article reports on a mixed-method systematic review…

Contemporary Governance Architecture Regarding Robotics Technologies: An Assessment

Even a cursory review of the contemporary governance architecture regarding military technological innovation generally reveals a disturbing lack of consensus regarding the necessity for governance and methodologies to be utilized to achieve it. Innovations, adaptations, and uses in the areas of nanotechnology, bio-science, information science, cognitive technologies - referred to generally as NBIC - and…

Governing Lethal Behavior: Embedding Ethics in a Hybrid Deliberative/Reactive Robot Architecture

This article provides the basis, motivation, theory, and design recommendations for the implementation of an ethical control and reasoning system potentially suitable for constraining lethal actions in an autonomous robotic system so that they fall within the bounds prescribed by the Laws of War and Rules of Engagement. It is based upon extensions to existing…

“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 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 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.…