What is a human? Toward psychological benchmarks in the field of human-robot interaction

Peter H. Kahn, Hiroshi Ishiguro, Batya Friedman, Takayuki Kanda, Nathan G. Freier, Rachel L. Severson, Jessica Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


In this paper, we move toward offering psychological benchmarks to measure success in building increasingly humanlike robots. By psychological benchmarks we mean categories of interaction that capture conceptually fundamental aspects of human life, specified abstractly enough to resist their identity as a mere psychological instrument, but capable of being translated into testable empirical propositions. Nine possible benchmarks are considered: autonomy, imitation, intrinsic moral value, moral accountability, privacy, reciprocity, conventionality, creativity, and authenticity of relation. Finally, we discuss how getting the right group of benchmarks in human-robot interaction will, in future years, help inform on the foundational question of what constitutes essential features of being human.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-390
Number of pages28
JournalInteraction Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2007


  • Authenticity of relation
  • Autonomy
  • Creativity
  • Human-robot interaction
  • Imitation
  • Morality
  • Privacy
  • Psychological benchmarks
  • Reciprocity
  • Robot ethics


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