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Can Social Robots Make Societies More Human?

Instituto Superior Técnico/Institute for Systems and Robotics, Av. Rovisco Pais 1, 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal
Information 2018, 9(12), 295;
Received: 12 September 2018 / Revised: 8 November 2018 / Accepted: 15 November 2018 / Published: 22 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ROBOETHICS)
PDF [1988 KB, uploaded 27 November 2018]


A major criticism social robots often face is that their integration in real social, human environments will dehumanize some of the roles currently being played by the human agents. This implicitly overestimates the social skills of the robots, which are constantly being upgraded, but which are still far from being able to overshadow humans. Moreover, it reflects loosely rational fears that robots may overcome humans in the near future. This paper points to a direction opposite to mainstream, and claims that robots can induce humanizing feelings in humans. In fact, current technological limitations can be managed to induce a perception of social fragility that may lead human agents to reason about the social condition of a robot. Though robot and/or technology phobias may bias the way a social robot is perceived, this reasoning process may contribute to an introspection on the meaning of being social and, potentially, to contribute to humanizing social environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: social robots; human-robot interaction; humanizing technology social robots; human-robot interaction; humanizing technology

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Sequeira, J.S. Can Social Robots Make Societies More Human? Information 2018, 9, 295.

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