Can Robots Make us Better Humans? Virtuous Robotics and the Good Life with Artificial Agents
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2021

This position paper proposes a novel approach to the ethical design of social robots. We coin the term "Virtuous Robotics" to describe Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) designed to help humans reach a higher level of moral development. Our approach contrasts with mainstream approaches to robot design inspired by the other normative theories, Consequentialism and Deontology. In the paper we theoretically justify our proposal, illustrating how the Virtuous Robotics approach allows us to discriminate between positive and negative applications of robotics systems, of which we provide examples. From an ethical perspective, our proposal is theoretically robust because it is based on the assistive role played by the robot rather than the robot's moral agency. From a designer's perspective, Virtuous Robotics is technically feasible because it transfers the cognitive burden of HRI from the robot to the user, bypassing the need for complex decision-making abilities. From the user's perspective, it is concretely advantageous, because it envisions a realistic way to make robots morally desirable in our lives, as supports for personal betterment and fulfilment.

Machine Ethics



Human-Robot interaction


Character formation


Virtue Ethics

Virtuous Robotics

Recognition theory


Massimiliano L. Cappuccio

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Eduardo B. Sandoval

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Omar Mubin

Western Sydney University

Mohammad Obaid

Chalmers, Data- och informationsteknik, Interaktionsdesign

Mari Velonaki

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

International Journal of Social Robotics

1875-4791 (ISSN) 1875-4805 (eISSN)

Vol. 133 1 7-22



Människa-datorinteraktion (interaktionsdesign)

Robotteknik och automation



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