Robot Ethics at ETHICOMP 2015


7-9 September, De Montfort University, UK

Robot Ethics

(Kathleen Richardson)

The Ethics of Robotics is an exciting growth area as robots become an increasing part of everyday life: from advances in robotics in industry, the workplace and the military, to the developments in robotics for the more intimate spheres of human life as companions, carers and as therapeutic agents.

We invite papers to reflect on the ethics of robots in all these areas, and ask contributors to propose papers that reflect on the way robots are raising new questions about human-machine culture, relationality and phenomenal questions of human existence.

We are interested in the ways in which the ethics of care, human existence, human companionship, warfare and work are reshaped by robotics.

We invite papers to reflect on these themes and encourage papers from philosophers, anthropologists, sociologists and others and encourage new perspectives from fields as diverse as feminism, dialogical phenomenology, psychotherapy, arts and humanities as well as the classical domains of AI research, cognitive science and robotic fields.

Track Topics Welcomed:

  • Robots as therapeutic agents
  • Robots in the military
  • Robots and the changing workplace
  • Robots as companions for adults with attachment difficulties
  • Robots and empathy
  • Robots in arts and the humanities

Some papers from the Track will, if relevant to the topic, can submit an abstract for consideration to be part of a:

Special Issue AI&Society (2015)

“I”Robot? Rethinking the I-You relation through dialogical phenomenology in the Ethics of AI and Robotics.

This Special Issue: “I”Robot? Rethinking the I-You relation through dialogical phenomenology in the Ethics of AI and Robotics will address issues in dialogical philosophy (Buber), concerning the nature of “I” and “You” and the relatedness between them (Buber, Stawarska, Husserl, Wittgenstein, Derrida).

AI robotic scientists develop embodied agents (robots) with a (potential) viewpoint to interact with humans. We will explore what kinds of “I” models of consciousness are shaping robots. Contemporary studies in developmental psychology/psychotherapy (e.g., attachment theory and development theory), philosophy (Stawarska) and other fields are challenging the detached “I” model of subjectivity. However, the dialogical model does not propose fusion of the “I” with the “You” or a ‘Cyborg’ (Haraway) model of human-machine integration but relationship between the “I” and “You” mediated by dialogue, experience, presence and mutuality. The Special Issue will explore if AI Robotics is excessively reliant on egocentric models of a disembodied “I” (e.g., Theory of Mind, “I” consciousness) coming into relation with another disembodied “I” as the “You” and other “She/He/It, We, You, They’. To what extent can dialogical phenomenology offer new directions for considering subjectivity and a move away from the Cartesian “I”  (I think therefore I am) attached to the pronoun “I”, as lone entity to reflect on human consciousness and subjectivity? (Stawarska 2009)

This special issue will draw on the ground breaking work of Martin Buber’s dialogical phenomenology of I and Thou (1937) to explore I-You relatedness and I-You separation (I-It). We encourage authors to submit papers on the ethics of AI and Robotics by reference to the dialogical tradition. Moreover, dialogical philosophy provides a unique framework for reflecting on the role of speech and silence, listening and talking, presence and absence, embodiment and disembodiment in radically new ways. All these themes that have significant bearing on the ways robots are developed, imagined and become part of lived human existence.


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