Humans and robots: ethics, agency, and anthropomorphism

Sven Nyholm

Research output: Book/ReportBookAcademic


Can robots perform actions, make decisions, collaborate with humans, be our friends, perhaps fall in love, or potentially harm us? Even before these things truly happen, ethical and philosophical questions already arise. The reason is that we humans have a tendency to spontaneously attribute minds and “agency” to anything even remotely humanlike. Moreover, some people already say that robots should be our companions and have rights. Others say that robots should be slaves. This book tackles emerging ethical issues about human beings, robots, and agency head on. It explores the ethics of creating robots that are, or appear to be, decision-making agents. From military robots to self-driving cars to care robots or even sex robots equipped with artificial intelligence: how should we interpret the apparent agency of such robots? This book argues that we need to explore how human beings can best coordinate and collaborate with robots in responsible ways. It investigates ethically important differences between human agency and robot agency to work towards an ethics of responsible human-robot interaction.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherRowman & Littlefield International
ISBN (Electronic)9781786612281
ISBN (Print)9781786612267, 9781786612274
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Publication series

NamePhilosophy, technology, and society


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