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Ethical issues

Ethical Issues

The use of robots in therapeutic contexts raises several ethical issues. For example, there are issues concerning privacy and data protection. What happens with the data collected by the robot? Are they stored? Who uses them? There are also problems raised by the increased autonomy of the robot and the child-robot interaction. How much, and what kind of autonomous behaviour should the robot exhibit? That is, to what extent should the robot-child interaction be supervised and controlled by the therapist? Can parents trust their child “into the hands of the robot”? Are the preferences and interests of the child sufficiently taken into account? What kind of interaction should the robot encourage? The “Ethics” part of DREAM will address these ethical issues by making sure that all relevant known ethical constraints and existing laws are implemented in the design process, by examining specific new ethical questions raised by the child-robot interaction, and by investigating if and how we can build in ethical constraints into the meta-cognition level of the robot. Through close collaboration between the technical and ethical researchers and the ASD practitioners, the project will integrate technology with ethics and clinical therapy practices. It will also significantly contribute to research and reflection in robot ethics and ethics of human-robot interaction.