Advertisement

Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 291–301 | Cite as

Why robots should not be treated like animals

  • Deborah G. Johnson
  • Mario VerdicchioEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

Responsible Robotics is about developing robots in ways that take their social implications into account, which includes conceptually framing robots and their role in the world accurately. We are now in the process of incorporating robots into our world and we are trying to figure out what to make of them and where to put them in our conceptual, physical, economic, legal, emotional and moral world. How humans think about robots, especially humanoid social robots, which elicit complex and sometimes disconcerting reactions, is not predetermined. The animal–robot analogy is one of the most commonly used in attempting to frame interactions between humans and robots and it also tends to push in the direction of blurring the distinction between humans and machines. We argue that, despite some shared characteristics, when it comes to thinking about the moral status of humanoid robots, legal liability, and the impact of treatment of humanoid robots on how humans treat one another, analogies with animals are misleading.

Keywords

Ethics Robots Humanoids Animals Robot law 

References

  1. Anderson, C. A. (1997). Effects of violent movies and trait hostility on hostile feelings and aggressive thoughts. Aggressive Behavior, 23, 161–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, M., & Anderson, S. L. (Eds.). (2011). Machine ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Asaro, P. M. (2012). A body to kick, but still no soul to damn: Legal perspectives on robotics. In P. Lin, K. Abney, & G. A. Bekey (Eds.), Robot ethics: The ethical and social implications of robotics. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  4. Asaro, P. M. (2016). The liability problem for autonomous artificial agents. Ethical and Moral Considerations in Non-Human Agents, 2016 AAAI Spring Symposium Series.Google Scholar
  5. Ashrafian, H. (2015). Artificial intelligence and robot responsibilities: Innovating beyond rights. Science and Engineering Ethics, 21(2), 317–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Asimov, I. (1993). Forward the foundation. London: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  7. Borenstein, J., & Pearson, Y. (2010). Robot caregivers: Harbingers of expanded freedom for all? Ethics and Information Technology, 12(3), 277–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bryson, J. J., Diamantis, M. E., & Grant, T. D. (2017). Of, for, and by the people: The legal lacuna of synthetic persons. Artificial Intelligence and Law, 25, 273–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bushman, B. J., & Anderson, C. A. (2009). Comfortably numb: Desensitizing effects of violent media on helping others. Psychological Science, 20(3), 273–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Calverley, D. (2006). J. Android science and animal rights, does an analogy exist? Connection Science, 18(4), 403–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Calverley, D. J. (2005). Android science and the animal rights movement: Are there analogies. In Cognitive Sciences Society Workshop, Stresa, Italy, pp. 127–136.Google Scholar
  12. Chilvers, J. (2013). Reflexive engagement? Actors, learning, and reflexivity in public dialogue on science and technology. Science Communication, 35(3), 283–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chin, M., Sims, V., Clark, B., & Lopez, G. (2004). Measuring individual differences in anthropomorphism toward machines and animals. In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, vol 48, pp. 1252–1255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Coeckelbergh, M. (2010). Robot rights? Towards a social-relational justification of moral consideration. Ethics and Information Technology, 12(3), 209–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Darling, K. (2016). Extending legal protection to social robots: The effects of anthropomorphism, empathy, and violent behavior towards robotic objects. In R. Calo, A. M. Froomkin & I. Kerr (Eds.), Robot Law. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  16. Delvaux, M. (2016). Draft Report with recommendations to the Commission on Civil Law Rules on Robotics. European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs Report 2015/2103 (INL).Google Scholar
  17. Dick, P. K. (1968). Do androids dream of electric sheep? London: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  18. Elbogen, E. B., Johnson, S. C., Wagner, H. R., Sullivan, C., & Taft, C. T. (2014). and J. C. Beckham. Violent behaviour and post-traumatic stress disorder in US Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 204(5), 368–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Epley, N., Waytz, A., & Cacioppo, J. T. (2007). On seeing human: A three-factor theory of anthropomorphism. Psychological Review, 114(4), 864–886.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. EPSRC. (2010). Principles of robotics, engineering and physical sciences research council. Retrieved April 2018 from https://epsrc.ukri.org/research/ourportfolio/themes/engineering/activities/principlesofrobotics/.
  21. Eyssel, F., Kuchenbrandt, D., Bobinger, S., De Ruiter, L., & Hegel, F. (2012). “If you sound like me, you must be more human”: On the interplay of robot and user features on human–robot acceptance and anthropomorphism. In Proceedings of the 7th annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human–Robot Interaction (HRI’12), pp. 125–126.Google Scholar
  22. Ford, M. (2015). The rise of the robots: Technology and the threat of mass unemployment. London: Oneworld Publications.Google Scholar
  23. Fussell, S. R., Kiesler, S., Setlock, L. D., & Yew, V. (2008). How people anthropomorphize robots. In Proceedings of the 3rd ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human–Robot Interaction (HRI 2008), pp. 145–152.Google Scholar
  24. Future of Life Institute. (2015). Autonomous weapons: An open letter from Ai & robotics researchers. Retrieved August 2017 from https://www.futureoflife.org/ai-open-letter/.
  25. Garland, A. (2015). Ex Machina [Motion Picture]. Universal City: Universal Pictures.Google Scholar
  26. Gentner, D., & Forbus, K. D. (2011). Computational models of analogy. WIREs Cognitive Science, 2, 266–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gibson, W. (1996). Idoru. New York: Viking Press.Google Scholar
  28. Glas, D. F., Minato, T., Ishi, C. T., Kawahara, T., & Ishiguro, H. (2016). “ERICA: The ERATO Intelligent Conversational Android.” Proceedings of the 25th IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), pp. 22–29.Google Scholar
  29. Grodzinsky, F. S., Miller, K. W., & Wolf, M. J. (2015). Developing automated deceptions and the impact on trust. Philosophy & Technology, 28(1), 91–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gunkel, D. J. (2012). The machine question. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  31. Gunkel, D. J. (2014). A vindication of the rights of machines. Philosophy & Technology, 27(1), 113–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gunkel, D. J. (2017). The other question: Can and should robots have rights? Ethics and Information Technology.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10676-017-9442-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hanson Robotics. (2017). Sophia. Retrieved April 2008 from http://www.hansonrobotics.com/robot/sophia.
  34. Hauskeller, M. (2016). Mythologies of transhumanism. Basingstoke: Palgrave McMillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hogan, K. (2017). Is the machine question the same question as the animal question? Ethics and Information Technology, 19, 29–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Holyoak, K. J., & Koh, K. (1987). Surface and structural similarityin analogical transfer. Memory & Cognition, 15, 332–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Johnson, D. G., & Verdicchio, M. (2017). AI anxiety. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 68(9), 2267–2270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Jonze, S. Her [Motion Picture], Warner Bros., Burbank, 2013.Google Scholar
  39. Kant, I. (1997). Lectures on ethics, In: P. Heath and J. B. Schneewind (Eds.), translated by P Heath.Google Scholar
  40. Kelley, R., Schaerer, E., Gomez, M., & Nicolescu, M. (2010). Liability in robotics: An international perspective on robots as animals. Advanced Robotics, 24(13), 1861–1871.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kuehn, J., & Haddadin, S. (2017). An artificial robot nervous system to teach robots how to feel pain and reflexively react to potentially damaging contacts. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 2(1), 72–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kurzweil, R. (2005). The Singularity is near: When humans transcend biology. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  43. Latour, B. (1987). Science in action: How to follow scientists and engineers through society. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Levine, S., Pastor, P., Krizhevsky, A., & Quillen, D. (2016). Learning hand-eye coordination for robotic grasping with deep learning and large-scale data collection. Google Preliminary Report. Retrieved from https://arxiv.org/pdf/1603.02199v4.pdf.
  45. Levy, D. (2008). Love and Sex with Robots. New York: Harper Perennial.Google Scholar
  46. Levy, D. (2009). The ethical treatment of artificially conscious robots. International Journal of Social Robotics, 1(3), 209–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Liang, A., Piroth, I., Robinson, H., MacDonald, B., Fisher, M., Nater, U. M., Skoluda, N., & Broadbend, E. (2017). A pilot randomized trial of a companion robot for people with dementia living in the community. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. Retrieved August 2017 from  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamda.2017.05.019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lin, P., Abney, K., & Bekey, G. A. (2011). Robot Ethics: The ethical and social implications of robotics. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  49. MacLennan, B. (2013). Cruelty to robots? The hard problem of robot suffering. Proceedings of the 2013 Meeting of the International Association for Computing and Philosophy (IACAP).Google Scholar
  50. MacManus, D., Rona, R., Dickson, H., Somaini, G., Fear, N., & Wessely, S. (2015). Aggressive and violent behavior among military personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan: Prevalence and link with deployment and combat exposure. Epidemiologic Reviews, 37(1), 196–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Markey, P. M., French, J. E., & Markey, C. N. (2014). Violent movies and severe acts of violence: Sensationalism versus science. Human Communication Research, 41(2), 155–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. McNally, P., & Inayatullah, S. (1988). The rights of robots: Technology, culture and law in the 21st century. Futures, 20(2), 119–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Metzinger, T. (2013). Two principles for robot ethics. In E. Hilgendorf & J.-P. Günther (Eds.), Robotik und Gesetzgebung (pp. 247–286). Baden-Baden: Nomos.Google Scholar
  54. Miller, K. W. (2010). It’s not nice to fool humans. IT professional, 12(1), 51–52.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Minsky, M. (2013). Dr. Marvin Minsky—Facing the future. Retrieved June 2017 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9sujY8Xjro.
  56. Moore, A. (1989). V for Vendetta. Burbank: DC Comics.Google Scholar
  57. Mori, M. (1970). The uncanny valley. Energy, 7(4), 33–35.Google Scholar
  58. Mori, M., MacDorman, K. F., & Kageki, N. (2012). The uncanny valley [from the field]. IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine, 19(2), 98–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Novaco, R. W., & Chemtob, C. M. (2015). Violence associated with combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder: The importance of anger. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 7(5), 485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Owen, R., Stilgoe, J., Macnaghten, P., Gorman, M., Fisher, E., & Guston, D. (2013). A framework for responsible innovation. In R. Owen, J. Bessant & M. Heintz (Eds.), Responsible innovation: Managing the responsible emergence of science and innovation in society. Chichester: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Parisi, D. (2014). Future robots: Towards a robotic science of human beings. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Perkowitz, S. (2004). Digital people: From bionic humans to androids. Washington: Joseph Henry Press.Google Scholar
  63. Ramey, C. H. (2005). “For the Sake of Others”: The “Personal” Ethics of Human-Android Interaction. In Toward Social Mechanisms of Android Science: A CogSci 2005 Workshop. July 25–26, Stresa, Italy, pp. 137–148.Google Scholar
  64. Robertson, J. (2014). Human rights vs. robot rights: Forecasts from Japan. Critical Asian Studies, 46(4), 571–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Ross, B. H. (1989). Distinguishing types of superficial similarities: Different effects on the access and use of earlier problems. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 5, 456–468.Google Scholar
  66. Schaerer, E., Kelley, R., & Nicolescu, M. (2009). Robots as animals: A framework for liability and responsibility in human-robot interactions. In RO-MAN 2009-The 18th IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication, pp. 72–77, IEEE.Google Scholar
  67. Schmidt, C. T. A. (2008). Redesigning Man? In P. E. Vermaas, P. Kroes, A. Light & S. A. Moore (Eds.), Philosophy and design: From engineering to architecture (pp. 209–216). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Sharkey, A., & Sharkey, N. (2012). Granny and the robots: Ethical issues in robot care for the elderly. Ethics and Information Technology, 14(1), 27–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Sharkey, N., & Sharkey, A. (2010). The crying shame of robot nannies: An ethical appraisal. Interaction Studies, 11(2), 161–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Sharkey, N., van Wynsberghe, A., Robbins, S., & Hancock, E. (2017). Our sexual future with robots. The Hague: Foundation for Responsible Robotics. Retrieved September 2017 from http://responsiblerobotics.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/FRR-Consultation-Report-Our-Sexual-Future-with-robots_Final.pdf.
  71. Solaiman, S. M. (2017). Legal personality of robots, corporations, idols and chimpanzees: A quest for legitimacy. Artificial Intelligence and Law, 25, 155–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Spellman, B. A., & Holyoak, K. J. (1996). Pragmatics in analogical mapping. Cognitive Psychology, 31, 307–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Spennemann, D. H. (2007). R. Of great apes and robots: Considering the future(s) of cultural heritage. Futures, 39(7), 861–877.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Sullins, J. P. (2006). When is a robot a moral agent. International Review of Information Ethics, 6(12), 23–30.Google Scholar
  75. Sullins, J. P. (2011). When is a robot a moral agent? In M. Anderson & S. L. Anderson (Eds.), Machine ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  76. van Rysewyk, S. (2014). Robot pain. International Journal of Synthetic Emotions, 4(2), 22–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Università degli Studi di BergamoBergamoItaly

Personalised recommendations