Techno-animism in Japan: Shinto Cosmograms, Actor-network Theory, and the Enabling Powers of Non-human Agencies

In a wide range of contemporary debates on Japanese cultures of technological practice, brief reference is often made to distinct Shinto legacies, as forming an animist substratum of indigenous spiritual beliefs and cosmological imaginations. Japan has been described as a land of Shinto-infused ‘techno-animism’: exhibiting a ‘polymorphous perversity’ that resolutely ignores boundaries between human, animal,…

Of, For, and By the People: The Legal Lacuna of Synthetic Persons

Conferring legal personhood on purely synthetic entities is a very real legal possibility, one under consideration presently by the European Union. We show here that such legislative action would be morally unnecessary and legally troublesome. While AI legal personhood may have emotional or economic appeal, so do many superficially desirable hazards against which the law…

Automated Experiments on Ad Privacy Settings: A Tale of Opacity, Choice, and Discrimination

To partly address people's concerns over web tracking, Google has created the Ad Settings webpage to provide information about and some choice over the profiles Google creates on users. We present AdFisher, an automated tool that explores how user behaviors, Google's ads, and Ad Settings interact. AdFisher can run browser-based experiments and analyze data using…

One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100)

This report is the first in a series to be issued at regular intervals as a part of the One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100). Starting from a charge given by the AI100 Standing Committee to consider the likely influences of AI in a typical North American city by the year 2030, the…

Institutional Options for Robot Governance

Robots, which are generally understood as systems that take in information about the world, process that information, and can then act on the world, represent an enormous technological and economic opportunity that will change society in innumerable and unpredictable ways. Because they are non-human but can act on the world, new legal frameworks will be…

Robot Sex

Sexbots are coming. Given the pace of technological advances, it is inevitable that realistic robots specifically designed for people's sexual gratification will be developed in the not-too-distant future. Despite popular culture's fascination with the topic, and the emergence of the much-publicized Campaign Against Sex Robots, there has been little academic research on the social, philosophical,…

Why robot nannies probably won’t do much psychological damage

While the issue of robot child care is obviously of critical importance, an appraisal will not benefit either the field or society if it unrealistically exaggerates a threat, any more so than if it unrealistically trivialises danger. Thus while I largely concur with Sharkey and Sharkey (hereafter S&S) on many substantial and important points, I…

The Trouble with Algorithmic Decisions: An Analytic Road Map to Examine Efficiency and Fairness in Automated and Opaque Decision Making

We are currently witnessing a sharp rise in the use of algorithmic decision-making tools. In these instances, a new wave of policy concerns is set forth. This article strives to map out these issues, separating the wheat from the chaff. It aims to provide policy makers and scholars with a comprehensive framework for approaching these…

Social geographies II Robots

This report examines how social geographers are engaging with the questions that robots and robotic technologies provoke. First, it discusses Marxist analyses of machines and troubles the role that robots play in social production and reproduction. Second, robots as actors in assemblages of sociospatial relations are interrogated for their role in state violence. Third, the…

A sociable robot to encourage social interaction among the elderly

In this paper, we present evidence that although current models for introduction of robotic companions stress individual encounters, a social community alternative is promising. This argument emerges from an experiment we conducted with a small interactive robot at two local nursing homes. Here we give a brief introduction to the robot and our experience at…

Interaction Expands Function: Social Shaping of the Therapeutic Robot PARO in a Nursing Home

We use the social shaping of technology and society framework to qualitatively analyze data collected through observation of human-robot interaction (HRI) between social actors in a nursing home (staff, residents, visitors) and the socially assistive robot PARO. The study took place over the course of three months, during which PARO was placed in a publicly…

Use of a Therapeutic, Socially Assistive Pet Robot (PARO) in Improving Mood and Stimulating Social Interaction and Communication for People With Dementia: Study Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial

Background Socially assistive robotics is a growing area for geriatric research. Objective This single-blind, randomized controlled trial (RCT) aims to investigate the use of PARO, a therapeutic, socially assistive pet robot, in improving mood, and stimulating social interaction and communication for people with dementia in the community. Results Recruitment to the pilot study began 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…

Teach Me Show Me End-User Personalization of a Smart Home and Companion Robot

Care issues and costs associated with an increasing elderly population are becoming a major concern for many countries. The use of assistive robots in “smart-home” environments has been suggested as a possible partial solution to these concerns. A challenge is the personalization of the robot to meet the changing needs of the elderly person over…