A Survey of Expectations About the Role of Robots in Robot-Assisted Therapy for Children with ASD: Ethical Acceptability, Trust, Sociability, Appearance, and Attachment

Science and Engineering Ethics 22 (1):47-65 (2016)
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Abstract

The use of robots in therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder raises issues concerning the ethical and social acceptability of this technology and, more generally, about human–robot interaction. However, usually philosophical papers on the ethics of human–robot-interaction do not take into account stakeholders’ views; yet it is important to involve stakeholders in order to render the research responsive to concerns within the autism and autism therapy community. To support responsible research and innovation in this field, this paper identifies a range of ethical, social and therapeutic concerns, and presents and discusses the results of an exploratory survey that investigated these issues and explored stakeholders’ expectations about this kind of therapy. We conclude that although in general stakeholders approve of using robots in therapy for children with ASD, it is wise to avoid replacing therapists by robots and to develop and use robots that have what we call supervised autonomy. This is likely to create more trust among stakeholders and improve the quality of the therapy. Moreover, our research suggests that issues concerning the appearance of the robot need to be adequately dealt with by the researchers and therapists. For instance, our survey suggests that zoomorphic robots may be less problematic than robots that look too much like humans

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Mark Coeckelbergh
University of Vienna

References found in this work

Principles of Biomedical Ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Moral appearances: emotions, robots, and human morality. [REVIEW]Mark Coeckelbergh - 2010 - Ethics and Information Technology 12 (3):235-241.

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