Can a robot be a good colleague?

Sven Nyholm (Corresponding author), Jilles Smids

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftTijdschriftartikelAcademicpeer review

1 Citaat (Scopus)


This paper discusses the robotization of the workplace, and particularly the question of whether robots can be good colleagues. This might appear to be a strange question at first glance, but it is worth asking for two reasons. Firstly, some people already treat robots they work alongside as if the robots are valuable colleagues. It is worth reflecting on whether such people (e.g. soldiers giving “fallen” military robots military funerals and medals of honor) are making a mistake. Secondly, having good colleagues is widely regarded as a key aspect of what can make work meaningful. In discussing whether robots can be good colleagues, the paper compares that question to the more widely discussed questions of whether robots can be our friends or romantic partners. The paper argues that the ideal of being a good colleague has many different parts, and that on a behavioral level, robots can live up to many of the criteria typically associated with being a good colleague. Moreover, the paper also argues that in comparison with the more demanding ideals of being a good friend or a good romantic partner, it is comparatively easier for a robot to live up to the ideal of being a good colleague. The reason for this is that the “inner lives” of our friends and lovers are more important to us than the inner lives of our colleagues.

Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)2169–2188
Aantal pagina's20
TijdschriftScience and Engineering Ethics
Nummer van het tijdschrift4
Vroegere onlinedatum23 dec 2019
StatusGepubliceerd - 1 aug 2020

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