CFP: Special Issue in Minds & Machines: Social Robots - Ethical and Anthropological Issues

Submission deadline: October 1, 2020

Topic areas


Social and care robots are programmed to move and interact with people as therapists, entertainers, communication partners, etc. The use of these robots not only serves to train and maintain the cognitive and social skills of individuals but also to convey a feeling of interpersonal warmth and empathic understanding for improving the quality of life through social connection. Some proponents of social robots even stress that robots can be proper "Ersatz-partners". What do these and similar visions say about us as a species if we outsource such central human roles as being care-givers, friends or even partners to technology? Does an hour talking or cuddling with a robot equal an hour with a close relative? Is an intimate relationship with a robot better than having no intimate personal relationship at all? How do different possible stakeholders in these and similar scenarios such as the family, friends, social workers, the nursing staff, or health care administrators perceive the development of social robots and the expectations related to it? This special issue deals with these and similar topics and invites the submission of suitable papers.

Appropriate themes for submission include, among others:

  • The use of robots and implications for our nature as social animals
  • The potential threat of de-humanising vulnerable individuals through the substitution of personal social contacts with robot-interaction
  • The difference in the qualitative ‘feel’ between human-robot and interpersonal interaction
  • The concepts of sociality and friendship in human-robot-interaction
  • Ethical principles in the deployment of care robots and social robots
  • Social robots as devices of deception
  • Robots as enhancers or reducers of personal autonomy
  • The use of robots and informed consent

For more information please contact: [email protected]

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