Anthropomorphism in Human–Robot Co-evolution

Frontiers in Psychology 9:468 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Social robotics entertains a particular relationship with anthropomorphism, which it neither sees as a cognitive error, nor as a sign of immaturity. Rather it considers that this common human tendency, which is hypothesized to have evolved because it favored cooperation among early humans, can be used today to facilitate social interactions between humans and a new type of cooperative and interactive agents - social robots. This approach leads social robotics to focus research on the engineering of robots that activate anthropomorphic projections in users. The objective is to give robots "social presence" and "social behaviors" that are sufficiently credible for human users to engage in comfortable and potentially long-lasting relations with these machines. This choice of ’applied anthropomorphism’ as a research methodology exposes the artifacts produced by social robotics to ethical condemnation: social robots are judged to be a "cheating" technology, as they generate in users the illusion of reciprocal social and affective relations. This article takes position in this debate, not only developing a series of arguments relevant to philosophy of mind, cognitive sciences, and robotic AI, but also asking what social robotics can teach us about anthropomorphism. On this basis, we propose a theoretical perspective that characterizes anthropomorphism as a basic mechanism of interaction, and rebuts the ethical reflections that a priori condemns "anthropomorphism-based" social robots. To address the relevant ethical issues, we promote a critical experimentally based ethical approach to social robotics, "synthetic ethics," which aims at allowing humans to use social robots for two main goals: self-knowledge and moral growth.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,322

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Critical Anthropomorphism and Animal Ethics.Fredrik Karlsson - 2012 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 25 (5):707-720.
Can you kill a robot nanny?: Ethological approach to the effect of robot caregivers on child development and human evolution.Enikő Kubinyi, P. Pongrácz & Ádám Miklósi - 2010 - Interaction Studiesinteraction Studies Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systems 11 (2):214-219.
Anthropomorphism as Cognitive Bias.Mike Dacey - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1152-1164.
There is no 'I' in 'Robot': Robots and Utilitarianism (expanded & revised).Christopher Grau - 2011 - In Susan Anderson & Michael Anderson (eds.), Machine Ethics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 451.
Conditioned anti-anthropomorphism.Colin Allen & Grant Goodrich - 2007 - Comparative Cognition and Behavior Reviews 2:147-150.
Would You Still Love Me If I Was A Robot?Samuel Kenyon - 2008 - Journal of Evolution and Technology 19 (1):17-27.


Added to PP

75 (#215,284)

6 months
26 (#109,051)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Luisa Damiano
Università degli Studi di Messina