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Applying a Social-Relational Model to Explore the Curious Case of hitchBOT

Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP,volume 134)

Abstract

This paper applies social-relational models of moral standing of robots to cases where the encounters between the robot and humans are relatively brief. Our analysis spans the spectrum of non-social robots to fully-social robots. We consider cases where the encounters are between a stranger and the robot and do not include its owner or operator. We conclude that the developers of robots that might be encountered by other people when the owner is not present cannot wash their hands of responsibility. They must take care with how they develop the robot’s interface with people and take into account how that interface influences the social relationship between it and people, and, thus, the moral standing of the robot with each person it encounters. Furthermore, we claim that developers have responsibility for the impact social robots have on the quality of human social relationships.

Keywords

  • HitchBOT
  • Robot-human interaction
  • Robotic interfaces
  • Social robotics
  • Social-relational model
  • Anthropomorphic framing
  • Robotic design

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-01800-9_17
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Notes

  1. 1.

    The hitchBOT handlers refer to their robot using “who,” a pronoun typically reserved for humans. Further, ascribing the act of developing friendships is typically not ascribed to robots. These issues are taken up later in the paper.

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Correspondence to Frances Grodzinsky .

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Grodzinsky, F., Wolf, M.J., Miller, K. (2019). Applying a Social-Relational Model to Explore the Curious Case of hitchBOT. In: Berkich, D., d'Alfonso, M. (eds) On the Cognitive, Ethical, and Scientific Dimensions of Artificial Intelligence. Philosophical Studies Series, vol 134. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-01800-9_17

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-01800-9_17

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-01799-6

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-01800-9

  • eBook Packages: Computer ScienceComputer Science (R0)