Why Indirect Harms do not Support Social Robot Rights

Minds and Machines 32 (4):735-749 (2022)
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There is growing evidence to support the claim that we react differently to robots than we do to other objects. In particular, we react differently to robots with which we have some form of social interaction. In this paper I critically assess the claim that, due to our tendency to become emotionally attached to social robots, permitting their harm may be damaging for society and as such we should consider introducing legislation to grant social robots rights and protect them from harm. I conclude that there is little evidence to support this claim and that legislation in this area would restrict progress in areas of social care where social robots are a potentially valuable resource.



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Paula Sweeney
University of Aberdeen

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References found in this work

Welcoming Robots into the Moral Circle: A Defence of Ethical Behaviourism.John Danaher - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (4):2023-2049.
An enquiry concerning human understanding.David Hume - 1955 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press. pp. 112.
The other question: can and should robots have rights?David J. Gunkel - 2018 - Ethics and Information Technology 20 (2):87-99.

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