ICRA 2014 WORKSHOP, WSa9, Room 423, May 31, 2014, 9:30-15:30

Autonomous Social Robots: The Ethical Challenges Ahead

Artificial intelligence and robotics are rapidly advancing in their quest to build truly autonomous agents. In particular, autonomous social robots are envisioned to be deployed into our society in the not-so-distant future in many different application domains, ranging from assistive robots for health care settings, to personal robot companions. Critically, all these robots will have to have the capability to make decisions on their own to varying degrees. Any such decision-making situation from daily life could potentially turn into a morally charged decision-making situation, where the artificial agent finds itself presented with the difficulty of making morally appropriate decisions. Moreover, even without knowing, autonomous social robots might cause harm to human agents (e.g., by causing people to create unidirectional emotional bonds with them). Hence, we are faced with at least two major problems that need to be resolved: how to develop computational architectures that allow autonomous social robots to make better, morally sound decisions, and how to determine the social and moral implications of long-term interactions with autonomous social robots?

This session will continue a dialogue that has started ten years ago in 2004 when IEEE established the (TC) on Robot Ethics. It will feature invited talks by former TC members and established researchers in the field of robot ethics who all have investigated the ethical challenges of autonomous machines from different angles, including philosophical, psychological, computational, and robotic perspectives. The goal is to allow for a genuinely multi-disciplinary exchange on what the various urgent ethical challenges are that need to be tackled in the context of autonomous that are deployed in human societies.

This full-day workshop is open to and strongly encourages the participation of researchers and scholars from all areas of robotics, but also from other communities, both in science and the humanities. This cultural openness is important for robotics research as it allows for the widest possible intellectual exchanges, which are critical for the topic of robot ethics.

09:30-10:30 Ron Arkin (Georgia Tech, USA) “Violence, Intimacy, and Human Dignity involving Robotic Artifacts: A Research Overview and Surrounding Ethical Issues
10:30-11:30 Tatsuya Nomura (Ryukoku University, Japan) How People Think When Facing to 'Robot Ethics'? From Perspectives of Social Surveys
11:30-12:00 Discussion
12:00-13:00 Lunch break
13:00-14:00 Robert Sparrow (Monash University, Australia) Moral machines and their politics

14:00-15:00 Matthias Scheutz (Tufts University, USA) Moral Robots? Investigating Human Perceptions of Moral Robot Behavior
15:00-15:30 Discussion

Related RAS Technical Committees: TC on Robot Ethics