First International Symposium on
30th - 31st January 2004, Villa Nobel, Sanremo, Italy

Bombs, Bonding, and Bondage: Human-Robot Interaction and Related Ethical Issues

Ronald C. Arkin
Regents' Professor and Director of the Mobile Robot Laboratory
College of Computing
Georgia Tech
Atlanta, GA 30332
Phone: (404) 894-8209 , Fax: (404) 385-4251

This talk describes ongoing research on various ways in which humans can be engaged with robotic systems. The first approach enables average people to easily specify and execute multiagent military robotic missions using the MissionLab system developed at Georgia Tech.

Ethical considerations regarding the use of robots in military applications will be raised.

Another perspective involves engaging users directly with robots through affective (emotional) bonding. This approach is derived from ethological models of canine and human behavior and has been implemented within Sony's AIBO (dog-like) and QRIO (humanoid) entertainment robots.

Ethical considerations regarding the ability of robots to induce long and short-term emotional changes in people are considered.

Finally the notion of just what robots ultimately should be is considered from an ethical perspective, including resistance to the creation of robots as a new slave class, due largely to the detrimental effects it may produce in how people think and act.

Draft 18th Jan '04