Learning robots interacting with humans: from epistemic risk to responsibility [Book Review]

AI and Society 22 (3):301-314 (2008)
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The import of computational learning theories and techniques on the ethics of human-robot interaction is explored in the context of recent developments of personal robotics. An epistemological reflection enables one to isolate a variety of background hypotheses that are needed to achieve successful learning from experience in autonomous personal robots. The conjectural character of these background hypotheses brings out theoretical and practical limitations in our ability to predict and control the behaviour of learning robots in their interactions with humans. Responsibility ascription problems, which concern damages caused by learning robot actions, are analyzed in the light of these epistemic limitations. Finally, a broad framework is outlined for ethically motivated scientific inquiries, which aim at improving our capability to understand, anticipate, and selectively cope with harmful errors by learning robots.



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