Ethics and Robotics: A Teaching Guide

Course Abstract

As robotic products begin to integrate more comprehensively with society, the relationship between robotic interaction and the ethical ramifications of this technologies’ impact becomes very relevant from viewpoints of design, critical analysis, legislation and widespread adoption.  In this class we study the peculiar aspects of robotics that reveals ethical issues with new urgency, and study explicit and unintended consequences of new technology on personal, organizational and cultural levels.  This course uses readings from psychology, sociology, human factors and classical texts to provide ethical analytical frameworks, then turns to recent robotic experiments and new advances in robotic technologies.  Students will participate in discussions based on assigned readings, and will work in teams on in-depth analyses of concurrent robotics projects.

This teaching guide provides resources appropriate for planning anything from a semester-long study of Ethics and Robotics to a single-day introduction to the subject, appropriate for a more general course such as Introduction to Robotics.  To get started, visit the Motivation page for an explanation of why I am making these resources available now.  Then, continue to the Teacher's Guide or Living Archive pages to begin exploring the content.

New news: I have started a blog that is relevant, bringing together recent news articles relating to the impact of robotic technology on society: Robot Futures.

Illah R Nourbakhsh

The Robotics Institute

Carnegie Mellon University