Gathering Expert Opinions for Social Robots' Ethical, Legal, and Societal Concerns: Findings from Four International Workshops
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational Journal of Social Robotics. 2019, online first . 10.1007/s12369-019-00605-z
Social robots, those that exhibit personality and communicate with us using high-level dialogue and natural cues, will soon be part of our daily lives. In this paper, we gather expert opinions from different international workshops exploring ethical, legal, and social (ELS) concerns associated with social robots. In contrast to literature that looks at specific challenges, often from a certain disciplinary angle, our contribution to the literature provides an overview of the ELS discussions in a holistic fashion, shaped by active deliberation with a multitude of experts across four workshops held between 2015 and 2017 held in major international workshops (ERF, NewFriends, JSAI-isAI). It also explores pathways to address the identified challenges. Our contribution is in line with the latest European robot regulatory initiatives but covers an area of research that the latest AI and robot governance strategies have scarcely covered. Specifically, we highlight challenges to the use of social robots from a user perspective, including issues such as privacy, autonomy, and the dehumanization of interactions; or from a worker perspective, including issues such as the possible replacement of jobs through robots. The paper also compiles the recommendations to these ELS issues the experts deem appropriate to mitigate compounding risks. By then contrasting these challenges and solutions with recent AI and robot regulatory strategies, we hope to inform the policy debate and set the scene for further research.