People May Punish, Not Blame, Robots

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Abstract

As robots may take a greater part in our moral decision-making processes, whether people hold them accountable for moral harm becomes critical to explore. Blame and punishment signify moral accountability, often involving emotions. We quantitatively looked into people’s willingness to blame or punish an emotional vs. non-emotional robot that admits to its wrongdoing. Studies 1 and 2 (online video interaction) showed that people may punish a robot due to its lack of perceived emotional capacity than its perceived agency. Study 3 (in the lab) demonstrated that people were neither willing to blame nor punish the robot. Punishing non-emotional robots seems more likely than blaming them, yet punishment towards robots is more likely to arise online than offline. We reflect on if and why victimized humans (and those who care for them) may seek out retributive justice against robot scapegoats when there are no humans to hold accountable for moral harm.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2021 - Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Subtitle of host publicationMaking Waves, Combining Strengths
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages1-11
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-8096-6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2021
EventCHI 2021 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: Making Waves, Combining Strengths - Virtual, Online, Japan
Duration: 8 May 202113 May 2021
https://chi2021.acm.org/

Conference

ConferenceCHI 2021 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Abbreviated titleCHI 2021
CountryJapan
CityVirtual, Online
Period8/05/2113/05/21
Internet address

Keywords

  • Blame
  • punishment
  • morality
  • responsibility gap
  • retribution gap
  • retributive justice
  • robots
  • human-robot interaction
  • human-computer interaction
  • Punishment
  • Retribution gap
  • Retributive justice
  • Morality
  • Human-robot interaction
  • Responsibility gap
  • Robots

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