Graduate studies at Western
Ethics and Information Technology 4 (4):305-318 (2002)
|Abstract||Following the success of Sony Corporation’s “AIBO”, robot cats and dogs are multiplying rapidly. “Robot pets” employing sophisticated artificial intelligence and animatronic technologies are now being marketed as toys and companions by a number of large consumer electronics corporations. It is often suggested in popular writing about these devices that they could play a worthwhile role in serving the needs of an increasingly aging and socially isolated population. Robot companions, shaped like familiar household pets, could comfort and entertain lonely older persons. This goal is misguided and unethical. While there are a number of apparent benefits that might be thought to accrue from ownership of a robot pet, the majority and the most important of these are predicated on mistaking, at a conscious or unconscious level, the robot for a real animal. For an individual to benefit significantly from ownership of a robot pet they must systematically delude themselves regarding the real nature of their relation with the animal. It requires sentimentality of a morally deplorable sort. Indulging in such sentimentality violates a (weak) duty that we have to ourselves to apprehend the world accurately. The design and manufacture of these robots is unethical in so far as it presupposes or encourages this delusion. The invention of robot pets heralds the arrival of what might be called “ersatz companions” more generally. That is, of devices that are designed to engage in and replicate significant social and emotional relationships. The advent of robot dogs offers a valuable opportunity to think about the worth of such companions, the proper place of robots in society and the value we should place on our relationships with them.|
|Keywords||Animal Artificial Intelligence Ethics Robot Sentimentality|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Similar books and articles
Germund Hesslow & D.-A. Jirenhed (2007). The Inner World of a Simple Robot. Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (7):85-96.
Stephen Petersen (2007). The Ethics of Robot Servitude. Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 19 (1):43-54.
Christopher Grau (2011). There is No 'I' in 'Robot': Robots and Utilitarianism (Expanded & Revised). In Susan Anderson & Michael Anderson (eds.), Machine Ethics. Cambridge University Press.
Mark Coeckelbergh (2010). Artificial Companions: Empathy and Vulnerability Mirroring in Human-Robot Relations. Studies in Ethics, Law, and Technology 4 (3).
Margaret A. Boden (1995). Could a Robot Be Creative--And Would We Know? In Android Epistemology. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Selmer Bringsjord (2000). Animals, Zombanimals, and the Total Turing Test: The Essence of Artificial Intelligence. Journal of Logic Language and Information 9 (4):397-418.
Patrizia Marti (2010). Robot Companions: Towards a New Concept of Friendship? Interaction Studies 11 (2):220-226.
T. Kitamura (2002). What is the Self of a Robot? On a Consciousness Architecture for a Mobile Robot as a Model of Human Consciousness. In Kunio Yasue, Marj Jibu & Tarcisio Della Senta (eds.), No Matter, Never Mind. John Benjamins.
Russell Blackford (2012). Robots and Reality: A Reply to Robert Sparrow. [REVIEW] Ethics and Information Technology 14 (1):41-51.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads42 ( #31,843 of 740,423 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #13,459 of 740,423 )
How can I increase my downloads?