, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 75–82 | Cite as

The human relationship in the ethics of robotics: a call to Martin Buber’s I and Thou

  • Kathleen RichardsonEmail author
Original Article


Artificially Intelligent robotic technologies increasingly reflect a language of interaction and relationship and this vocabulary is part and parcel of the meanings now attached to machines. No longer are they inert, but interconnected, responsive and engaging. As machines become more sophisticated, they are predicted to be a “direct object” of an interaction for a human, but what kinds of human would that give rise to? Before robots, animals played the role of the relational other, what can stories of feral children tell us about what it means to be human? What of ‘relationship’ do AI and robotic scientists draw on to generate ideas about their relational others? I will address these questions by reference to the work of Martin Buber in I and Thou.


Dialogical phenomenology Human-robot interaction Human relationship Feral children Attachment theory Ethics of care Gendered attachment. 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Senior Research Fellow Ethics of Robotics, Centre for Computing and Social ResponsibilityDe Montfort UniversityLeicesterUK

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