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Castigation by Robot: Should Robots Be Allowed to Punish Us?

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Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP,volume 143)

Abstract

Autonomous robots are currently being developed for tasks that may require those robots to assume a position of authority over humans. Our work examines the ethical boundaries of human-robot interaction in the context of robot-initiated punishment of humans. We observe that positions of authority often require the ability to punish in order to maintain societal norms. If autonomous robots are to assume roles of authority, they too, must be capable of punishing individuals that violate norms. This work constructs a discussion regarding permissible robot behavior, particularly from the perspective of robot-administered punishment, examining the current and future use cases of such technology and applying a consequence-based approach as a starting point for analysis.

Keywords

  • Human-robot interaction
  • Authority
  • Punishment
  • Norm maintenance
  • Ethical limitations

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Notes

  1. 1.

    There is also existing literature on the topic of machine consciousness, emotions, and empathy. We do not consider these more tangential areas of research here.

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Acknowledgements

This material is based upon work partially supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-1849068. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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Correspondence to Alan R. Wagner .

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Wagner, A.R., Jois, H. (2022). Castigation by Robot: Should Robots Be Allowed to Punish Us?. In: Lundgren, B., Nuñez Hernández, N.A. (eds) Philosophy of Computing. Philosophical Studies Series, vol 143. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-75267-5_6

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