Why Do/Should We Build Robots?

Michael Funk, Johanna Seibt, Mark Coeckelbergh

This article is a summary of a joint discussion session that was held impromptu at the RP 2018 conference. The session addressed the two main questions: “Why do we build robots, why should we build robots?” along a series of queries, which were directly posed to, and discussed by, the conference plenum (the audience of a large lecture hall with about 150–200 participants). The session produced concrete answers, but also many further questions, pointers, and useful trajectories. In this summary we try to collect the highlights of this spontaneous yet well-focused event. We reconstruct nine answers to the question of why we do build robots, and nine answers to the question of why we should or should not build robots. In addition, we report on more general and fundamental observations concerning special normative tasks arising with social robotics. We conclude with some reflections on the idea and format of this impromptu session, as a tool for future conferences.

Department of Philosophy
369 - 384
No. of pages
Publication date
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
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