Robots, Ethics, and Intimacy: The Need for Scientific Research
Intimate relationships between robots and human beings may begin to form in the near future. Market forces, customer demand, and other factors may drive the creation of various forms of robots to which humans may form strong emotional attachments. Yet prior to the technology becoming fully actualized, numerous ethical, legal, and social issues must be addressed. This could be accomplished in part by establishing a rigorous scientific research agenda in the realm of intimate robotics, the aim of which would be to explore what effects the technology may have on users and on society more generally. Our goal is not to resolve whether the development of intimate robots is ethically appropriate. Rather, we contend that if such robots are going to be designed, then an obligation emerges to prevent harm that the technology could cause.
KeywordsSocial robotics Intimate relationships Affective bonding Embodied robots Well-being
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