Personal Robots, Appearance, and Human Good: A Methodological Reflection on Roboethics
- 1.9k Downloads
The development of pet robots, toy robots, and sex robots suggests a near-future scenario of habitual living with ‘personal’ robots. How should we evaluate their potential impact on the quality of our lives and existence?
In this paper, I argue for an approach to ethics of personal robots that advocates a methodological turn from robots to humans, from mind to interaction, from intelligent thinking to social-emotional being, from reality to appearance, from right to good, from external criteria to good internal to practice, and from theory to experience and imagination. First I outline what I take to be a common approach to roboethics, then I sketch the contours of an alternative methodology: ethics of personal robots as an ethics of appearance, human good, experience, and imagination.
The result is a sketch of an empirically informed anthropocentric ethics that aims at understanding and evaluating what robots do to humans as social and emotional beings in virtue of their appearance, in particular how they may contribute to human good and human flourishing. Starting from concrete experience and practice and being sufficiently sensitive to individual and cultural differences, this approach invites us to be attentive to how human good emerges in human–robot interaction and to imagine, possibilities of living with personal robots that help to constitute good human lives.
KeywordsPersonal robots Ethics of robotics Appearance Human flourishing Artificial intelligence
- 1.Cerqui D, Arras KO (2001) Human beings and robots: towards a symbiosis? In: Carrasquero J et al (eds) A 2000 people survey. Post-conference proceedings PISTA 03 (Politics and Information Systems: Technologies and Applications), pp 408–413 Google Scholar
- 2.Turkle S (2005) Relational artefacts/children/elders: the complexities of cybercompanions. In: Android science workshop, Stresa (Italy). Cognitive Science Society, pp 62–73 Google Scholar
- 3.Levy D (2007) Love and sex with robots: the evolution of human–robot relationships. Harper Collins, New York Google Scholar
- 6.Asaro P (2006) What should we want from a robot ethic? Int Rev Inf Ethics 6:10–16 Google Scholar
- 8.Clark A (2001) Reasons, robots and the extended mind. Mind Lang 16(2):121–145 Google Scholar
- 13.Torrance S (2007) Ethics and consciousness in artificial agents. Artif Intell Soc 22:495–521 Google Scholar
- 14.Ishii K (2006) Cognitive robotics to understand human beings. Q Rev 20:11–32 Google Scholar
- 15.Levy D (2008) The ethical treatment of artificially conscious robots. Paper presented at the 1st international conference on human–robot personal relationships, Maastricht University, June 13, 2008 Google Scholar
- 16.Veruggio G (2006) EURON roboethics roadmap (release 1.1). EURON Roboethics Atelier, Genua Google Scholar
- 17.Bruce A, Nourbakhsh I, Simmons R (2002) The role of expressiveness and attention in human–robot interaction. In: Proceedings of the 2002 IEEE international conference on robotics & automation, Washington, DC, May 2002, pp 4138–4142 Google Scholar
- 19.Mori M (1970) Bukimi no tani (The uncanny valley). Energy 7(4):33–35. (Original in Japanese, translated by MacDorman KF & Minato T) Google Scholar
- 21.Taggart W, Turkle S, Kidd CD (2005) An interactive robot in a nursing home: preliminary remarks. In: Android science workshop, Stresa (Italy). Cognitive Science Society, pp 56–61 Google Scholar
- 22.Reeves B, Nass C (1996) The media equation: how people treat computers, television, and new media like real people and places. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Google Scholar
- 23.Ramey CH (2005) “For the sake of others”: the personal ethics of human–android interaction. In: Android science workshop, Stresa (Italy). Cognitive Science Society, pp 137–148 Google Scholar
- 24.Nussbaum MC (2006) Frontiers of justice. Harvard University Press, Cambridge Google Scholar
- 25.Coeckelbergh M (2009) Health care, capabilities, and AI assistive technologies. Ethic Theory Moral Pract (forthcoming) Google Scholar