Robot ethics is a relatively new domain in which various scholars explore the ethical issues facing computer scientists, engineers, programmers, developers, ethicists and philosophers. There are many different approaches for addressing the ethical issues related to robots (e.g., in both retrospective and prospective manners) as well as many different approaches to what ethics means in relation to robots (e.g., addressing quality of life issues versus usability and acceptance issues).
Social robotics researchers need to address legal, societal and ethical issues before robots become widespread within our society. Not only should researchers focus on preventing undesired outcomes, but they also need to investigate the social roles that robots can (not) or should (not) perform in the future according to the opinions of potential future users and in the light of the ethical and societal values at stake. When ordinary people start using autonomous technologies, such as robots, in their everyday lives, robotics researchers need to map all possible interaction scenarios and their potential consequences for both individual users and society as a whole. If the rise of robotics is similar to that of personal computers a few decades ago, we can expect some important legal, societal and ethical issues to emerge from robotics as well. Therefore, robotics researchers need to attend to these issues if we want to anticipate the potential (negative) consequences of the ubiquitous use of robots in our society as well as to design robots that foster our preferred ethical and societal values.
Aim of the workshop
This workshop aims to bring together HRI scholars from multiple disciplines to stress the need to incorporate the users’ needs not only from a usability perspective but also from an ethical perspective. We therefore believe it is vital to involve prospective users as active testers in the design process. Their opinions and perceptions help researchers, designers, and engineers to create social robots that fit the special needs and demands of potential future users. We believe that also philosophers, legal scholars, policy makers should be involved in the deliberation process about the design of future robots.
The workshop will take place in the morning session on October 30th.