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Who's afraid of nudging by social robots?

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In this paper I explore the ethics of nudging performed by social robots and ask whether it involves novel challenges. Having defined nudging (§2), I will argue that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with nudging but that its permissibility depends on the combination of a number of features (§3). I will then discuss the case of nudging by social robots (§4). The point here is to inspect whether the technological features peculiar to social robots, and in particular the fact that they incite users to relate affectively and grow attached to the robot, add something new to the ethics of nudging. I argue that they don’t but that, nonetheless, there is good reason to be wary of nudging by robots as their special features might make them particularly efficient at nudging. Finally (§5), I discuss the sense in which social robots are by their very nature inescapably nudging technologies and consider one last time whether this might raise ethical problems that nudging more in general does not pose.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRobophilosophy: Philosophy of, for, and by social robotics
EditorsJohanna Seibt, Raul Hakli, Marco Nørskov
Place of publicationCambridge, MA
PublisherMIT Press
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

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ID: 201309658