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The Role of Trust and Relationships in Human-Robot Interaction

Although this article could serve as a rant against the machine and those that design them, that is not its intent. Instead, by uncovering some of the potential ethical risks inherent in the advancement of robotics technology, we can consider technological solutions to their potential dark sides. In so doing, we can likely avoid the neo-luddite dystopia espoused by [Joy 00] among others, while not blindly accepting the utopian perspectives representative of [Moravec 90] and [Kurzweil 06]. The question is simply, how do we create robotic technology that preserves our humanity and our societies’ values? This is no simple task, nor will there be any panacea presented. But by studying several representative examples we can better understand the potential benefits that ethical human-robot interaction can offer. This is first illustrated in the battlefield, where intelligent hunter-killers are already at work in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Two approaches are considered for restraining the behavior of the soon-tobe autonomous platforms that will ultimately operate in this battlespace: