Ethics and Robotics
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Thinking ethically about robots means no less than asking ourselves who we are…
Ethics and robotics are two academic disciplines, one dealing with the moral norms and values underlying implicitly or explicitly human behavior and the other aiming at the production of artificial agents, mostly as physical devices, with some degree of autonomy based on rules and programmes set up by their creators. Robotics is also one of the research fields where the convergence of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science is currently taking place with large societal and legal implications beyond traditional industrial applications. Robots are and will remain -in the foreseeable future- dependent on human ethical scrutiny as well as on the moral and legal responsibility of humans. Human-robot interaction raises serious ethical questions right now that are theoretically less ambitious, but practically more important than the possibility of the creation of moral machines that would be more than machines with an ethical code. The ethical perspective addressed in this volume is therefore the one we humans have when interacting with robots. Topics include the ethical challenges of healthcare and warfare applications of robotics, as well as fundamental questions concerning the moral dimension of human-robot-interaction including epistomological, ontological and psychoanalytic issues. It deals also with the intercultural dialogue between Western and Non-Western as well as between European and US-American ethicists.