After the Blast

After the Blast, starring Cristin Milioti, is a science fiction play whose eight characters include a robot. The premise is that the surface of the earth has been laid waste by a nuclear exchange, the consequences of which forced survivors to seek shelter underground. The male survivors devote themselves to fixing the environment while the…

Social Robots: Human-Machine Configurations – Transformations Journal No. 29, 2017

Human-machine relationships are being transformed by robots increasingly performing social roles such as teachers, carers and companions. This arrival of social robots is challenging understandings of human-machine relationships and generating diverse aesthetic, ethical and political debates. Matters of interest include asymmetries in human-robot relationships, the co-constitution of humans and robots, the place of robot labour,…

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…

Seeing is comforting: Effects of teleoperator visibility in robot-mediated health care

Teleoperated robots can be used to provide medical care to patients in infectious disease outbreaks, alleviating workers from being in dangerous infectious zones longer than absolutely needed. Nevertheless, patients' reactions to this technology have not been tested. We test three hypotheses related to patients' comfort and trust of the operator and robot in a simulated…

Robot Caregivers: Harbingers of Expanded Freedom for All?

As we near a time when robots may serve a vital function by becoming caregivers, it is important to examine the ethical implications of this development. By applying the capabilities approach as a guide to both the design and use of robot caregivers, we hope that this will maximize opportunities to preserve or expand freedom…

Artificial agents, good care, and modernity

When is it ethically acceptable to use artificial agents in health care? This article articulates some criteria for good care and then discusses whether machines as artificial agents that take over care tasks meet these criteria. Particular attention is paid to intuitions about the meaning of 'care', 'agency', and 'taking over', but also to the…

TAME: Time-Varying Affective Response for Humanoid Robots

This paper describes the design of a complex time-varying affective software architecture. It is an expansion of the TAME architecture (Traits, Attitudes, Moods, and Emotions) as applied to humanoid robotics. In particular, it is intended to promote effective human-robot interaction by conveying the robot’s affective state to the user in an easy-to-interpret manner.

Care Robots for an Over-Aging Society: A Technical Solution for Japan’s Demographic Problem?

Japan has the world's longest life expectancy and highest proportion of older people in its population. As a result, the delivery of old-age care is becoming an urgent and high priority issue for the Japanese government. There is a high demand for care within a society whose population is constantly aging, and within this discrepancy,…

The crying shame of robot nannies: An ethical appraisal

An ethical appraisal of the possibility of part or full-time replacement of primary caregivers by robots, including implications for neglect of children, possible physical harm, human rights issues, privacy issues, robot use of restraint, deception of children, accountability, and consequences for the psychological and emotional well being of children.

Health Care, Capabilities, and AI Assistive Technologies

Scenarios involving the introduction of artificially intelligent (AI) assistive technologies in health care practices raise several ethical issues. In this paper, I discuss four objections to introducing AI assistive technologies in health care practices as replacements for human care. I analyse them as demands for felt care, good care, private care, and real care. I…

On the ethical framing of research programs in robotics

Robotic systems and technologies step out of research laboratories jointly with information about the long-term goals of technological inquiry they are lined up with and about the short-term objectives guiding daily laboratory activities. These various ingredients play crucial roles in the pursuit of technological research programs. A comprehensive ethical framing of technological research programs is…