, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 463–471 | Cite as

On the ethical framing of research programs in robotics

  • Guglielmo TamburriniEmail author
Original Article


Robotic systems and technologies step out of research laboratories jointly with information about 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 what are called here technological research programs. A comprehensive ethical framing of technological research programs is decomposed here into the ethical framing of their long-term and short-term goals, respectively. This approach to the ethical framing of technological research is exemplified by reference to fundamental rights in the context of technological research programs on elderly care and child care robots. Moreover, its significance is highlighted in connection with democratic decision-making about new and emerging technologies, as well as in connection with the cultural production of ignorance which is induced by missing information about the protection and promotion of fundamental rights in the specific context of robotic technologies.


Applied ethics Robotics Technological research programs Elderly care robots Child care robots Fundamental rights Agnotology 



Stimulating comments by Thomas Christaller, Edoardo Datteri, Michael Nagenborg, Leen Spruit, and an anonymous reviewer are gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Ingegneria Elettrica e Tecnologie dell’Informazione (DIETI)Università di Napoli Federico IINaplesItaly

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