Social and moral relationships with robotic others?

Peter H. Kahn, Nathan G. Freier, Batya Friedman, Rachel L. Severson, Erika N. Feldman

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

70 Scopus citations


This paper investigates the social and potentially moral relationships that humans have with what we refer to as robotic others. Our investigation begins by responding to some recent work in the literature that seeks to carve out the construct of "social robots." The construct is intriguing, yet in our view it may not be optimally framed to address two central issues. The first issue involves the ontological status of robots, of whether they currently are or in the future can actually be social. The second issue focuses psychologically on the nature of the human-robotic relationship, about how humans can and often do respond quickly and powerfully in social terms to robots, but also how the relationship is psychologically impoverished, maybe fundamentally, especially from a moral perspective. To advance our argument, we draw on our research over the last few years on people's relationships with Sony's robotic dog AIBO, particularly one of our studies that analyzes the type of issues that people discuss in AIBO online discussion forums. Finally, building on our conceptual and empirical analyses, we offer five central considerations toward framing the human relationship with robotic others.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2004
EventRO-MAN 2004 - 13th IEEE International Workshop on Robot and Human Interactive Communication - Okayama, Japan
Duration: Sep 20 2004Sep 22 2004


ConferenceRO-MAN 2004 - 13th IEEE International Workshop on Robot and Human Interactive Communication


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