The subject of social robotics has enormous projected economic significance. However, social robots not only present us with novel opportunities but also with novel risks that go far beyond safety issues. It is a potentially highly disruptive technology which could negatively affect the most valuable parts of the fabric of human social interactions in irreparable ways. Since engineering educations do not yet offer the necessary competences to analyze, holistically assess, and constructively mitigate these risks, new alliances must be established between engineering and SSH disciplines, with special emphasis on the humanities (i.e. disciplines specializing in the analysis of socio-cultural interactions and human experience). The Robophilosophy Conference Series was established in 2014 with the purpose of creating a new forum and catalyzing the research discussion in this important area of applied humanities research, with focus on robophilosophy.
Robophilosophy conferences have been the world’s largest venues for humanities research in and on social robotics. The book at hand presents the proceedings of Robophilosophy Conference 2020: Culturally Sustainable Social Robotics, the fourth event in the international, biennial Robophilosophy Conference Series, which brought together close to 400 participants from 29 countries. The speakers of the conference, whose contributions are collected in this volume, were invited to offer concrete proposals for how the Humanities can help to shape a future where social robotics is guided by the goals of enhancing socio-cultural values rather than by utility alone. The book is divided into 3 parts; Abstracts of Plenaries, which contains 6 plenary sessions; Session Papers, with 44 papers under 8 thematic categories; and Workshops, containing 25 items on 5 selected topics.
Providing concrete proposals from philosophers and other SSH researchers for new models and methods, this book will be of interest to all those involved in developing artificial ‘social’ agents in a culturally sustainable way that is also – a fortiori – ethically responsible.
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