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Hardcover | Out of Print | 400 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 15 b&w illus. | December 2011 | ISBN: 9780262016667
Paperback | $34.00 Short | £24.95 | 400 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 15 b&w illus. | January 2014 | ISBN: 9780262526005
eBook | $24.00 Short | December 2011 | ISBN: 9780262299534

Robot Ethics

The Ethical and Social Implications of Robotics


Robots today serve in many roles, from entertainer to educator to executioner. As robotics technology advances, ethical concerns become more pressing: Should robots be programmed to follow a code of ethics, if this is even possible? Are there risks in forming emotional bonds with robots? How might society—and ethics—change with robotics? This volume is the first book to bring together prominent scholars and experts from both science and the humanities to explore these and other questions in this emerging field.

Starting with an overview of the issues and relevant ethical theories, the topics flow naturally from the possibility of programming robot ethics to the ethical use of military robots in war to legal and policy questions, including liability and privacy concerns. The contributors then turn to human-robot emotional relationships, examining the ethical implications of robots as sexual partners, caregivers, and servants. Finally, they explore the possibility that robots, whether biological-computational hybrids or pure machines, should be given rights or moral consideration.

Ethics is often slow to catch up with technological developments. This authoritative and accessible volume fills a gap in both scholarly literature and policy discussion, offering an impressive collection of expert analyses of the most crucial topics in this increasingly important field.

About the Editors

Patrick Lin is a philosopher and Director of the Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group, based at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Keith Abney is a philosopher of science and Senior Lecturer at California Polytechnic State University.

George A. Bekey is Professor Emeritus in Computer Science at University of Southern California and Distinguished Professor of Engineering at California Polytechnic State University.


“The book is an excellent primer on ethics and philosophy. It is definitely accessible to an undergraduate student—perhaps in the context of an undergraduate engineering ethics course. It is also a valuable reference for roboticists, providing an awareness of the social concerns related to their research.”—Choice