Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology

Volume 26, Issue 1, 2022

Dina Babushkina
Pages 1-30

What Does It Mean for a Robot to Be Respectful?

Intelligent systems are increasingly incorporated into relationships that had, until recently, been reserved solely for humans, and are delegated the role of a partner, which, if human, would presuppose a system of normatively regulated interactivity. This includes expectations of reciprocity and certain attitudes/actions towards human actors, such as respect. Even though a robot cannot respect, I argue that it can be respectful. A robot can be attributed respectfulness (in the direct sense) iff its interactions with persons reflect the respectful attitude of the humans involved in its design and operation. Robot respectfulness is a compound of (a) robotic actions governed by principles that (b) reflect the attitude of respect for persons by humans involved in its design, implementation, and professional use. I define respect for persons as a commitment to core values that make someone a person (i.e., intellect, rationality of reactive attitudes, autonomy, personal integrity, and trust in expertise).

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